Step 1: It’s important to be prepared with questions - and not be afraid to ask those questions. Write them down so that you don’t forget them once you’re in the exam room.
Remember that you and your doctor are partners in your health care. Your preparation and participation are impor tant determinants in how successful your visit will be.
Step 2: Keep your own medical journal at home: a record of questions, a food and exercise diary, over-the-counter and prescription medications (including dosage) and herbal supplements, as well as symptoms, with descriptions and dates/times. Review this information while you’re in the waiting room so that it’s fresh on your mind.
Step 3: Take notes! Bring something to write with so that you can make notes during your appointment for later review.
Step 4: If you anticipate that there may be a language barrier with your doctor, bring along someone who is proficient in medical terminology who can interpret for you.
Step 5: Plan it out! Ask the doctor what your exact diagnosis is, the recommended treatment plan, and when he/she would like to see you again (or if a visit to a specialist is needed). Don’t be intimidated by medical jargon. Ask your doctor to explain things to you in easy-to-understand terms and don’t be afraid to ask the doctor to repeat instructions or answers you don’t understand.
Remember, your doctor’s visit is not the time to be shy about discussing embarrassing or sensitive topics. Be sure to include complete details about your medical history. You should feel free to ask the doctor if there is any reading material or other resources available that pertain to your question, condition, upcoming test or procedure. There are many resources available to you if you have a chronic condition or disease. You may need to ask about other resources in the area that are available to you: support groups, therapists, etc. Use these five steps to keep your health on track.