How to Make the Most of Your Doctors’ Appointments

Have you ever felt like you had a doctor’s appointment that went too quickly and did not provide you with enough face time with the doctor? If so, you are not alone, as many patients have the same experience. So how can you make the most of your doctor appointments? How can you get all of your questions answered and leave feeling confident?

In collaboration with Cancer Champions we have developed a helpful checklist to help you maximize the time time you have with your doctor (which is on average about eight minutes per visit). To get you started, review the three key ways to make the most of your doctor’s appointment – before, during, and after.

Before: How to Prepare for Your Appointment

Take time before your visit to get all of your documents ready including x-rays, a list of medications, and other necessary paperwork. With your paperwork in order, think about what your main objective for this visit is: Do you have pain in a particular area? If you feel sick, how would you describe it? Draft your notes and any questions you want to get answered before you go and bring them with you.

If the visit requires any particular prep-treatment or if you are just nervous, then invite a friend or loved one to attend to help with transportation, note taking or to just be a companion in a difficult situation.

During: Be Open and Honest at Your Appointment

During your appointment you need to be very clear about how you feel and that includes being completely honest and open. Do not be shy about sharing what may feel like personal information. The doctor needs this type of information in order to make a diagnosis and help you. You should have your list of questions ready and review them with your doctor. At the end of your appointment, you should recap what was discussed and go over next steps. Don’t leave the doctor’s office if you have any remaining questions or are unsure of what to do next.

After: Follow the Doctor’s Orders After Your Appointment

Each doctor’s visit will result in some follow-up action: taking medication, visiting a specialist, monitoring your pain, etc. These are your doctor’s orders, so it is very important to act on them. In addition, you may need to schedule additional tests, consultations, or other follow-up visits. The best time to make those appointments is right away while it is fresh on your mind.

Our Making the Most of your Doctor’s Appointment Checklist will get you organized, help you feel confident and prepare you with important questions and information to consider. Use it before and after your next visit!

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