Have you ever come home from a doctor’s appointment and realized you forgot to ask something? Maybe you didn’t understand why your doctor ordered a lab test or prescribed a medication. In the U.S., the average doctor’s appointment lasts 20 minutes, so it’s important to come prepared. To make the most of your next visit, ask your doctor these six questions:
1. Is my medication list up to date?
A nurse or a medical assistant may ask you if your medications are up to date in your medical record, but don’t count on them to do so. Give them the information if they don’t ask. Come prepared with a list of all of your medications, OTC and prescribed, as well as any supplements that you take, such as vitamins. Be sure to include prescriptions from other doctors, so that contraindicated medications are not mixed.
2. Am I current on my immunizations?
Once we reach adulthood, it’s easy to forget about immunizations. Taking into consideration your age, your travel plans, and other factors, your doctor can recommend the right immunizations for you.
3. Are you aware of my drug allergies?
If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medication, it’s important that this information is in your medical record. If you have a medical emergency, you would not want to be given a medication that you are allergic to, or that might cause have other side effects.
4. What blood or lab tests should I have performed?
Factors like your age, gender, and family history are considered when your doctor orders lab tests. Ask your doctor what tests you need to have performed now. If you don’t understand the purpose of a test, ask your doctor to explain it to you.
5. Why are you prescribing this medication?
Your doctor may decide to prescribe a new medication, or change the dosage of an existing medication. Make sure you understand why you are taking the medication, and how long you will be on it.
6. Can I see a copy of my medical records?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA law, guarantees that you have access to your medical records and those of your minor children. If you receive healthcare at different clinics, each clinic may have a different procedure for requesting your medical records. Your medical record contains a lot of information, and you need to know how to interpret it. Avidity Medical Design Academy offers a course entitled, “How to Read Your Own Medical Record (Learn What is in YOUR Medical Files!).” This course teaches important information that you should know in order to understand what is being entered into your medical record. You will also learn how to read your medical record, and how to report any errors or omissions that you find. Visit the Avidity Medical Design Academy homepage to learn more about this course.