By  Anthony G. Alessi, MD – Healthy Rounds

Preparation is crucial to the success of any event and the medical office visit is no exception.  In addition to the elements discussed last month that included filling out forms in advance, dressing appropriately and getting on a cancellation list for future appointments, there are other “tricks of the trade” that can enhance the experience.

When appropriate, it is wise to bring along a friend or family member to the visit.  There is always a lot of information provided and having someone else help gather the data provided is helpful.  This is especially pertinent for elderly patients and those who are hearing impaired.

Don’t be afraid to take notes as the doctor is summarizing the information gathered during the examination and explaining potential diagnoses.  If necessary, ask for the diagnosis to be written out along with any other terms you may not understand.

Follow-up instructions should also be clear.  Any medication changes must also be clarified.

Accessing the internet can be a blessing or a curse depending on how the information is interpreted.  I recommend patients go to the internet to gather more knowledge but they should discuss their internet discoveries with me or another physician before coming to any conclusions.

A word of caution regarding the internet: many blogs and chat rooms attract patients who have the worst possible variants of a particular condition.  These virtual testimonials are often exaggerated.  Credible websites like WebMD, Mayo Clinic Online and Families Online Magazine, where the information is provided by medical professionals, are reliable.

Formulating five or fewer clear, thoughtful questions in advance of the medical visit is acceptable and encouraged.  Write the questions down since many are forgotten during the excitement of the visit.

Following some simple guides can make a medical visit more productive and satisfying.

 


About the Author

Anthony G. Alessi, MD, MMM ,graduated from the University of Rome and completed his residency and neuromuscular fellowship at the University of Michigan. He is in private practice in Norwich, CT, specializing in neurology, electrodiagnosticmedicineand sports neurology. He is board-certified in neurology and electrodiagnostic medicine. Dr. Alessi received his Masters degree inMedicalManagement from the Heinz School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University in 2001.

He serves as a neurologic consultant to many athletic organizations including the University of Connecticut Athletic Department, Norwich Free Academy and the Connecticut State Boxing Commission.Dr. Alessi also serves as neurologic consultant to the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, CT Sun (WNBA) and Hartford Colonials (UFL).

>He is medical director of the William W. Backus Hospital Stroke Center, writes a syndicated column, “HealthySports,” for the Norwich Bulletin and is host of “Neuro Frontiers” on Reach MD XM 160 and “Healthy Rounds,” syndicated through WTIC 1080, the Hartford CBS affiliate.

Dr. Alessi’s book, “Healthy Sports: A Doctor’sLessonsfor a Winning Lifestyle,” is a compilation of instructive columns.His most recent book, “Lift Up Your Hearts: Healing Haiti, Land of Hardship,” recounts the work of Dr. Alessi and other medical volunteers after the earthquake in Haiti.Reach him at www.alessimd.com.

 

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