Talking with Your Doctor
The next time you have an appointment with your primary care provider, a specialist, or your child’s doctor, be sure to take some time to prepare.
Organize Your Information
Dedicate a file folder or a binder to your medical papers and bring it with you to the appointment.
It should contain at least:
- A list of contact information for all of your health care providers.
- A list of any medications you take and any allergies you have to medications. The
Home Delivery Medication Tracker from US Family Health Plan that you received in the mail makes it easy to keep medication information organized. Be sure to list vitamins, over-the-counter medications, and herbal supplements. Also put any medications that you take, including vitamins, over-the counter medications, and herbal supplements, into a bag or other container and bring them to the appointment.
- Any recent lab test results and correspondence from medical providers.
Write Down Questions
Make a list of questions you want to ask the doctor and information you want to tell him or her and bring it to the appointment along with a pen.
You’ll want to make sure you write down:
- Any symptoms that you’re having. (A rash? Headaches? Joint pain?)
- Information about changes or stresses in your life. (Is a family member sick? Are you taking care of your grandchildren? Are you planning to move?)
- Any questions you have about your medications. (Should you take them with food? Before bed?)
- Any side effects you have from your medications.
Review your list of questions several times during the appointment to make sure you’ve asked everything you wanted to.
It’s important to let your doctor know if you don’t understand something. If you don’t ask questions, your doctor will think you understand everything he or she has told you.
Don’t worry that you’re taking up the doctor’s time by writing down notes. The doctor realizes that this is important to you and to your health.
If you don’t feel comfortable taking notes yourself, bring a trusted relative or friend with you to take notes.