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How to get the most out of your doctor’s appointment

Written By northidahodpc

How to get the most out of your doctor’s appointment

March 10, 2012

We are all looking to get the very best care possible when accessing the health care system.  Listed below are some inside tips to getting the most bang for your buck when visiting a physician or mid level provider (physician assistant or nurse practitioner):

1)When scheduling your appointment, tell the receptionist ALL the concerns that you would like the physician to address, even if it is embarrassing.  Adequate time for the appointment can then be provided.  The last thing a physician wants to hear is “oh, by the way” as the appointment is wrapping up.  Adequately problem solving usually cannot be competently performed in the few seconds remaining.
2)Write down your concerns by priority.  Keep your chief complaint(s) as brief and direct as possible.  Physicians are trained to give the patient about 1 minute of uninterrupted time to explain a particular problem.  Most medical diagnosis is made during the subsequent question and answer period.  Try to keep your responses as short and concise as possible.
3)If you are a new patient, try to arrive 20 minutes early to fill out the required paperwork.  Bring all prescription medications and supplements to your initial visit.  If you are an established patient, arrive 5 to 10 minutes early.  Late patients are usually given less time to adequately solve their medical concern(s).
4)Try to schedule the first appointment of the day.  The physician is more likely to be on time.  Avoid Monday and Friday appointments if possible as these tend to be the busiest days in a medical office.
5)Bring a family member or friend to your appointment.  A second set of ears is always helpful.  Take notes.  If you don’t understand what is said, ask for clarification.  And always request that the physician write down his or her recommendations for later reference…..Richard R Samuel, MD     Family Practice and Urgent Care   Hayden, ID  USA

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