Most doctors have a short window of time to spend with patients unless you are paying out of pocket for an integrative or holistic doctor. Even then, they are costly and you want to make the most out of your time with them. I can’t tell you how many times I showed up to a Doctor’s appointment and left without asking important questions. Questions that I was waiting weeks to get answers to. It’s time to get organized and leave feeling good about your face-to-face time with your doc. Here are 5 tips to slay your appointments moving forward.
1. Write down Your Questions
Questions pop up all the time but sometimes they don’t warrant an immediate phone call. If it’s urgent, obviously don’t wait until your next appointment but if minor questions arise in between appointments then write them down! Store them in your phone, a notebook, whatever works well for you. Have them readily available so you can get answers during your appointment with your doc.
As someone who was once chronically ill, I had questions come up all the time. I want to try this gut cleanse, will this interfere with anything I am taking? I started experiencing this symptom, is this normal? Sometimes I would forget to ask these questions and leave feeling stressed and annoyed. I started to jot them down and bring them with me.
2. Keep a Binder
Start asking for copies of every single test you took including routine blood work, special tests and even nutritional programs you are asked to follow. Keep them in a well organized binder. This is incredibly useful to track your own progress if you are dealing with a health issue but also extremely helpful when you consult new doctors. Bring it with you to any new appointments. It’s much easier to have this information in one place versus having to contact all your doctors to gather information last minute.
I bought a hole puncher to keep my documents in order. After 5 years of collecting tests, my binder became a very large file. I would tag important tests with post-its so I knew where to find them. Knowing where to find tests could minimize the amount of time doctors need to sift through for important information leaving you with more time in your appointment.
3. Bring all Supplements and Medications
I know this seems annoying but it’s better to have them with you especially if you are seeing multiple doctors or consulting a new one. It’s important for them to see the specific brands and dosages you take. If you don’t want to bring all the physical bottles with you then take pictures of the labels and the ingredients.
Also, be sure to note any adverse reactions you’ve had to medications and supplements.
4. Be Informed
This doesn’t mean you need to self diagnose yourself on WebMD before coming in but it’s good to be informed about any health issues you are dealing with. Do some research and have an idea about what your options are so you can make informed decisions. Your doctor is there to give you your options but it doesn’t hurt to have an understanding going in.
5. Be Clear on Office Hours
Ask what the policy is for calling after hours or getting in contact with your doctor. Some doctor’s are great at getting back in a timely fashion and others you have to call repeatedly. It’s good to understand the best windows of time to get in touch should you have any questions that arise after your appointment.