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Your medical visit - How to prepare

The time we have with our medical care providers is very important. Doctors and nurses are our partners in health, and thoughtful preparation before a visit helps us to work as a team and get the most out of our time together.

Before The Visit

Make a list and prioritize it - questions, concerns, and details of any symptoms.

Make a list of all medications, including doses and frequency of prescription and non-prescription drugs, plus herbs, supplements and vitamins.

Make a list of other medical providers you are seeing, including mental health professionals. Include contact info.

Ask a friend or family member to come with you if that would be helpful. This person can help listen, takes notes, and offer support.

At the Doctor's Office

Actively help to make a road map. In the first few minutes of the visit you and your provider work together to decide on what you'll accomplish based on health history, test results, and your list of questions and concerns.

Take notes. You'll remember everything the doctor says, including important new instructions.

Prepare to share. Be honest about about diet and sexual history, exercise, smoking, alcohol and drug use. Don't be embarrassed - your provider has heard it all before.

Questions are the Answer! There may be lots of new information - condition, treatment, tests, new medications. If you're not sure about something, ask again. If you get home and don't understand - call the office. You are patient and partner, so don't hesitate to ask questions.

You should leave your provider's office feeling that your concerns were heard and acknowledged. Together, you and your provider should come up with a health care plan that feels like the right fit for your needs.

Good preparation for a visit is good for our health!