How You Can Get the Most Out of Your Doctor Visits

A trip to the doctor usually involves a short window of time for patients to ask questions and get the answers they need. Following these tips to make the most out of your visit could help save your life.

Make Time

Per the Cleveland Clinic: “Arrive 15 to 20 minutes early for your appointment. Doing so will give you plenty of time to check in and have your vitals monitored. Arriving early will also help you get as much time with your provider as possible … and may also help you feel less rushed or stressed about the appointment.”

Question It

“Before your appointment, pick three or four questions or concerns that you most want to talk about with the doctor,” says the National Institute on Aging. “You can tell him or her what they are at the beginning of the appointment and then discuss each in turn. If you have time, you can then go on to other questions.”

No Chitchat

“You have relatively limited time with the doctor, and if you spend a lot of time talking about the weather or your last vacation, which is really pleasant to talk about, you won’t have time to talk about the nuts and bolts,” points out Dr. Joan Naidorf, author of the book Changing How We Think About Difficult Patients.

Be Honest

“It’s important to share things about your lifestyle, social obligations and relationships at home and at work,” says Debra Roter, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Sometimes patients are fearful that the doctor isn’t interested or that it isn’t relevant. But providing detailed information helps a doctor get the full picture of your well-being.”

Get a Recap

Per the Patient Empowerment Network: “Before you leave, be sure you understand what needs to happen next. Do you need any further diagnostic tests? When will you get the results? If you have just received a diagnosis, what are your treatment options? If you have concerns later, how should you contact your doctor?”

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