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Feb. 26, 2021 | CHH Foundation, Featured, News
by Bradley Burck

Simple Tips for Making the Most Out of Your Doctor Appointment

Make the Most of Your Next Dr. Visit

Go See Your Doctor Today!

If you don’t already have a doctor, make sure to find one in your area. If you live in the region, here is a list of Mountain Health Network providers. Unfortunately, opinions about medical care are too often shaped by the medical drams we watch on television. Not every physician has the bedside manner of egotistical and acerbic Dr. Gregory House (played by Hugh Laurie on the long-running Fox program House). While the average visit may be 15 minutes or less, your appointment with the doctor is an invaluable opportunity to understand just what’s going on with your body. . .if you are willing to follow a few easy suggestions!

There are several things you can do to make your visit more effective and help you get the most out of your one-on-one time with your provider (even when you’re connecting via a virtual appointment).

Feeling more at ease during your appointments is one goal. But your primary goal is to gain mutual understanding and trust. And your provider will appreciate that you’ve done your homework and want an honest conversation about your health.

Here’s a checklist for your next visit to your doctor:

  • Be on time.  When you’re late, everything begins to go downhill.  Physicians’ schedules are packed, so when people are late, the dominoes start falling and EVERYONE gets stressed.  Arrive 15 to 20 minutes early (or establish your connection and sign in ahead of time, if it’s virtual).  When you show up early there’ll be plenty of time to check in and have your vital signs monitored (your height, weight, blood pressure, etc.). Arriving early will also help you have as much time with your provider as possible.
  • Be prepared.  ALWAYS let your doctor know that you have questions so it becomes a natural part of the appointment.  Write your questions down before you leave home. What questions or concerns do you want to talk about?  Make sure you prioritize your questions so you’ll know what to ask first.  And to save time  (and lots of hemming and hawing), be prepared with a list of all of your current medications, including herbs, vitamins, supplements, etc. (dietary supplements and vitamins also count as medications!).
  • Know your family health history.  Share any changes or new conditions of your family members with your provider.  Predicting your risks for hereditary diseases and conditions is a critical part of keeping you healthy!
  • Be honest.   Building mutual understanding and trust simply can’t happen if you and your provider are dishonest with each other.  Medical situations can be difficult, painful or embarrassing, it’s true.  But ensuring the correct diagnosis and care for what ails you depends upon openness, transparency and complete honesty.
  • Try to relax.  Some patients experience “white-coat hypertension,” which means their blood pressure actually rises higher than normal when they are in the provider’s office). When you arrive or sign on, take a few deep breaths and remember that your provider is on your get-well and stay-well team. Also, remember that arriving early for your appointment will usually allow you to sit quietly for a few moments to center yourself.

It’s easy to think that visiting your medical provider is a “necessary evil.” But following these simple steps will make the experience much more enjoyable – both for you AND your doctor.