Doctor visit checklist: 7 tips for making the most of your doctor's visit

Introduction

When you see your doctor, it's important to share as much information as you can about your health and well-being in order to receive the best possible care.  That can feel like a lot of pressure but don't worry!  Preparing for your next doctor appointment doesn't have to be stressful. 

 

Your doctor is here to help you stay healthy, so it's important to keep all of your doctor's appointments, even if you are feeling well.  Learn more about how to go to the doctor and make the most of your time with a few simple steps.

1. Get organized before your doctor visit

Before you go to the doctor, take some time to think about important questions you may have about your health. Most people only visit the doctor a few times a year, so it’s important to make your time count! Even if you’re not experiencing any radical symptoms, it’s still important to ask yourself: 

 

  • Are you sleeping OK?
  • What’s your typical diet look like?
  • Have you been exercising?
  • Do you have any problem controlling your bladder?
  • Do you feel depressed? 

 

Make sure you also bring a list of any medications or supplements you’re taking, records from any lab tests or hospitalizations you’ve had recently, as well as any notes from specialists you’ve been seeing. The more information you can give your doctor about your health and daily life, the better he or she can take care of you during your doctor visit!

2. Make a list of symptoms and questions to ask your doctor

Now that you’ve gotten organized, you’re paying attention to your health, and you’re thinking about some questions to ask your doctor during your visit, it’s time to take some notes. In the days or weeks before your doctor visit, write down notable events, such as: 

 

  • A few nights when it was hard to sleep
  • A meal that didn’t agree with you
  • A little soreness when the weather got cold

 

These things happen to everybody and could be completely normal. However, you never know when it might be a sign of something more serious. When you’re not feeling your best, write it down. Your observations, along with your list of vitamins, supplements and prescription medications you take, can help your doctor know which questions to ask, so you can start working immediately on a plan for your best health together

3. Make sure all your questions are addressed during your doctor’s visit

You’ve made a good list; now it’s important to bring it with you when you head to your doctor’s visit. Having all your questions written down will help you stay focused and avoid forgetting something in the hustle and bustle of the doctor’s office. 

 

If you have a lot of questions, that’s OK. Take your time to ensure you understand your doctor’s answers and recommendations. Talking with your doctor can help you find and address any potential health issues, allowing you to get healthier more quickly.

4. Take notes during your doctor appointment

When your doctor answers your questions, take detailed notes or have someone take notes for you. That way, when you get home, you’ll be able to remember what your doctor said. If you have questions about the answers you get, ask those too! Your doctor is used to taking complex medical subjects and making them easy for patients to understand. 

 

If you leave your doctor appointment and don’t understand what your doctor said, be sure to call so you can get your questions answered. Make sure you’re clear on what your doctor tells you. It’s a big part of maximizing your health and well-being.

5. Follow through and refer back to your doctor visit notes

This is the most important step! Keep your doctor visit notes handy, as well as the list you brought to your appointment, so you can refer back to it later. Whether you receive a lot of recommendations or just a few doctor’s orders, having a copy of your list close by can make staying on track a lot easier.

 

As you follow your doctor’s orders over the next few weeks, take notes about changes in how you feel, or if you don’t feel any different. Taking notes about those changes can help your doctor see what’s working and what isn’t during your next visit.

6. Stay in touch, even after your doctor appointment

One of the best ways to stay healthy is to keep in touch with your doctor or care team in between visits. There’s no question too small when it comes to your health and well-being. 

 

  • Did you forget to ask something during your last doctor appointment?
  • Are you having trouble sticking to your list?
  • Are there any changes in how you feel since you started keeping it?
  • Any problems with a new medication?

 

Let your doctor know! You may even be able to get answers over the phone from a nurse or a nurse practitioner, without making an urgent trip to see your doctor or waiting until your next appointment.

7. We’re a team, and you’re part of it

You are a key part of your health and wellness. You know how you’re feeling, and it’s important to share that with your care team. CenterWell’s goal is to provide you with the care you deserve at every doctor visit. If you feel certain questions or concerns have not been answered, please let our team know

 

Together, we can make a plan that will help you stay healthy and feel your best.

 

 

This material is provided for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed professional. You should consult with an applicable licensed professional to determine what is right for you.

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