Preparing for an Office Visit 2
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.
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