Make the Most Out of Your Healthcare Visit

Strategies and tools to ensure you get the most out of your healthcare visit.

Whether you’re seeing your provider for the first time, for an annual wellness exam or for an acute medical reason, you’ll want to be prepared to provide some information to help make the visit as efficient as possible. A visit to your healthcare provider can feel overwhelming, especially when there’s a lot of information to be exchanged and shared in a small, allocated amount of time. Every minute of the appointment counts, and to get the attention and care you need, some of the following can help you be more prepared for your visit.

Three easy steps to plan for your visit:

Information: Gather what you will need before your appointment. This may include insurance cards, records, address or directions to the medical clinic.

Prioritize: Decide ahead of time what you most want to get out of the visit. This will help you organize your thoughts and shape how you and your provider spend the time together.

Goals: Set realistic goals and expectations beforehand. This will help you leave satisfied.

Ten top tips to help achieve an efficient visit:

Create a medical folder and notebook: In this folder and notebook, list or have records of your medical and surgical history along with family history. If you have any chronic health conditions or if you have a new symptom you’re concerned about, document your symptoms and how they progress throughout the days or weeks. For example, note what kind of home remedies you have tried, what aggravated or alleviated the symptoms. Be specific about your symptoms.

Update your provider: Let them know what has happened in your life since your last visit. For example, if you have been treated in the emergency room or by a specialist, tell the provider about any recent changes in any medications you take or the effects they have had on you.

Interpreter: Request an interpreter if you need one. It is vital that you understand what was discussed during your office visit.

Health insurance: Have a basic understanding of your health insurance coverage. This will help with referrals or any new orders your provider may recommend during the office visit.

Write down Questions or concerns to ask: Brainstorm a list well before your appointment, and have concise questions, starting with the most urgent questions that you must get answered.

Medications: Create a list of all your medications, including supplements or over-the-counter drugs and any allergies you may have. Always bring all of your medications, either the bottles or a list, to all of your medical care appointments. Tell your provider if you stop taking any medications and be honest if you have not been taking the medications as prescribed.

Support: Having someone with you will provide better support during the appointment. They can help remind you of your questions and concerns and ensure your provider answers all the questions you have. They can also help remind you of the recommendations given during the office visit.

Honesty: This is critical to a successful visit. Holding back embarrassing information or shading the truth could jeopardize your health. If you are not satisfied, speak up. If you are not taking your medications, be honest. If you have any barriers to getting the care you need, ask for resources or recommendations.

Personal impairment: Having visual or hearing impairment can hinder the care you want. Have the appropriate things you need to help you engage in your health better. If you need your glasses, have them with you so you can read or see better. If you are hard of hearing, wear your hearing aid.

Engagement: Be engaged. You know better than anyone else how you feel, and that information is vital to your provider. This is your health, and you should take part in the decision-making. The visit is not over until you know exactly what you’re supposed to do and when you need to return. Always remember that a medical appointment is not a one-time event; it’s an ongoing relationship. You should leave your provider’s office feeling like your concerns were heard and acknowledged. Together, you and your provider should come up with a health care plan that fits your needs.

Book an appointment today.

Book an appointment with your primary care provider today. Don’t have a healthcare provider? Book an appointment with one of our P3 Medical Group providers.

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