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How to Prepare for a Medical Visit

  • Write down all symptoms and a sequence of events. Be concise.
  • Bring your current insurance card and co-pay to every visit.
  • Bring a current, up-to-date medication list to all appointments.
  • If you want to ask something specific, ask in a pleasantly assertive way; do not wait until the doctor is leaving the room to discuss the real reason why you came.
  • Take notes. Let your doctor know if you don’t understand something.
  • If you like your doctor, but he or she doesn’t listen or include you in the decisions, try saying: “It takes me a while to explain my situation. I know you are busy, but I feel rushed.” Then describe what you want.
  • Discuss, don’t demand, the latest drug or treatment.
  • Before you leave or hang up the phone, say- “Just let me be sure I understand what I am supposed to do.” Then list the steps you think you are supposed to take.
  • Get a second opinion if you feel uncertain.

Caregivers bringing their loved one to medical appointments: If you have a question that you do not want to ask in front of the patient, call or mail it to the doctor ahead of time.

Questions to Ask at My Medical Visit

  • What is my main health problem?
  • What do I need to do?
  • Why is it important for me to do this?
  • What symptoms would be important for me to report before our next visit?
  • Any medication changes?

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