Scheduling a doctor’s appointment, but forgetting the things that you wanted to discuss when you get there, is an experience that many, if not all, patients can relate to. Preparing in advance for your next visit can help make your doctor’s appointment a much smoother experience, in terms of the feedback and advice provided by your doctor based on the information that you bring to the visit. With that in mind, let’s talk about some things to bring to your next doctor’s office visit.
What to Bring to Your Next Doctor’s Appointment
First, you will need all documentation for insurance, testing, previous history, and other doctors that have been seen. Second, bring your current medications and basic knowledge of noted reactions, logs, and how you take them. Last, remember to write out a list of discussion topics and cover each with your provider.
1. Bring Your Documentation.
At each appointment, the receptionist at the front desk will ask if any of your information has changed since your last visit, and will sometimes request documentation pertaining to any changes since your last visit. The nurse may also request some information prior to the doctor coming into the room to begin your visit. Remember to bring these key pieces of information to your next doctor’s visit:
- Your identification.
- Proof of medical insurance (or advise that you will be self pay).
- Results of any images or testing recently done at a different facility, in the event that this information has not been forwarded to your doctor’s office and added to your medical record.
- Your updated medical history if you are a new patient.
- Records from specialists if not readily available in your doctor’s office.
Remember to keep your physician up to date on any aspects of your health, so that your doctor can maintain the continuity of your care, in case you need to be seen by a consulting physician or be seen at a different healthcare facility. Proper documentation will allow the physician to review your records and immediately understand, at a glance, how different aspects of your current treatment may be affecting your health.
2. Bring Your List of Current Medications.
Most physicians will have a record of what medications have been prescribed to you by the office. However, it is important that you bring your list of medications to your next appointment for verification of proper use and correct dosage in relation to your treatment. It is also important to make a list of any reactions and concerns about your medications that you may want to discuss during your next visit. As part of your list, you will also need to include any new medications that were prescribed by other physicians as well, so that these can be reviewed and considered in relation to any other medications, for any potential adverse reactions to the mix of medications.
3. Bring Any New Medical Problems or Medical Worries That You Have.
Most people visit the doctor because they have concerns over medications or conditions that have developed. It is helpful to keep a list of medical problems or issues that occur between visits, in addition to keeping your medication list, so that all of your medical information remains up to date between appointments. A medical problem list can help you keep your concerns organized by date, all in one place, and help your doctor pinpoint how, why, and when they occurred in relation to other events that might have occurred at the same time, such as an outdoor camping trip, or starting a new medication. Present your problem list to your doctor to discuss your ongoing needs and care, and any potential adjustments that may need to be made. Some documentation, like blood sugar logs or blood pressure readings, are especially important in terms of helping your doctor understand what is happening at home between visits. Also, when you keep a medical problem list between visits, you won’t have to remember things that might have occurred several months prior to your visit for example, but that you may have forgotten all about by the date of your scheduled appointment.
The most important thing to remember is that your doctor needs to know about all aspects of your health in order to provide the best results and the best care possible. It is better to bring more documentation than you think will be necessary to your next appointment, because there may be some information included that the doctor has not received, and may be missing from your medical record.
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