8 Tips to Make the Most of Your Doctor’s Visits

Whether you are starting to see a new physician or are scheduling your yearly physical with the doctor you have had for years, there are some tips for making the most of your appointment.

  1. Start thinking about what you want to discuss with your doctor. Write these down and prioritize what is most important. During your appointment, start at the top of your list to ensure that issue is addressed first.
  2. Stay focused on why you are there. Every appointment is given a limited amount of time so make the most of it by focusing on issues that are important to you. 
  3. Be prepared. If you wear glasses or hearing aids, be sure to bring them to your appointment. Bring a complete list of all the medications you take, including over the counter medicines, vitamins, supplements and eye drops. Bring your identification and insurance cards. If you see other physicians or specialists, bring their contact information. If you are seeing a doctor for the first time, bring along a copy of your medical history. Be sure to include allergies, prior hospitalizations, surgeries and bring along copies of medical records if you have them. 
  4. Be honest. Provide your doctor with all the facts. The best course of treatment starts with knowing all the pertinent information. 
  5. Speak up if you don’t understand something. If you are unsure, restate the information and ask if you understand it correctly. If you are concerned you won’t be able to remember all the doctor’s instructions, considering bringing along a family member or friend to take notes.
  6. Plan to update the doctor. If you are undergoing a lot of stress in your life, share that with your physician. Mention any changes to your health that you have noticed.
  7. Don’t hesitate to discuss sensitive issues with your doctor.
  8. Keep good records. Having a current record of your medical history and all the medications you take can be helpful for your family in case of emergency. 

Need a new primary care provider? There are several in your area seeing new patients and even scheduling appointments online. Learn more at mclaren.org/primarycare.