• Aging Well Denver

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Doctors Appointments

Updated: Jan 7, 2019

By Britney Menter

Whether it's your first visit with a new Doctor or your yearly exam with a Doctor you've had for years, it can be easy to leave your appointment feeling like you missed something. The truth is, the 10 to 15 minutes you get with your doctor are extremely valuable and we want to help you make the most of them. It takes some preparation, but always remember that time spent on your health is never time wasted.

First, it's important for you to be your biggest advocate.

Even the best Doctor can only work with what you give him or her. If you are feeling off, or have noticed anything different about yourself, be sure to mention it and give it the weight it deserves. Your concerns are always valid, so never be embarrassed about voicing them.

Write everything down in preparation for your visit.

Spend the few weeks leading up to your visit evaluating how you feel - both mentally and physically. Write down everything you want to make sure you discuss in a notebook or on your phone and go through it like a checklist in your appointment.

Call your Doctors office a few weeks in advance and ask to have a routine blood test ordered. Make sure you go into the lab and get it done with enough time for your Doctor to get the results before your appointment. Evaluate the results yourself and ask about anything you think is odd or slightly off. Over time this will allow you to have a baseline that you and your doctor are aware of and can rely on if anything changes.

Bring a list of all of your medications.

Write down the name, dose and whether or not you take it regularly. Make sure that you include any supplements or vitamins that you take as well.

If you are going in for an appointment where you are learning more about a recent diagnosis, bring someone with you.

Visits like this can be long and overwhelming. Bring a spouse, family member or friend with you for support. Have them take notes and ask them to ask any questions they have as well. The more you know - the better, and it can be hard to retain information in a stressful situation like that.

Take any literature they will give you.

If the doctor offers you any pamphlets on a medication or treatment they are suggesting to you, take them and read them. Ask them to write down any additional information you need to know on the paperwork they send you home with. If you have any questions, write them down and call the Doctors office. If you aren't able to speak with them directly, ask to speak to their nurse and leave a detailed message including your questions.

Get a recap.

Ask your Doctor to sum up your visit for you. Have them quickly run over everything you discussed in terms of lab orders, diets changes, new medications, etc. If you hear anything you need clarification on, ask. It's not annoying to be thorough, its necessary!

The moral of the story is that to get the most out of your doctors appointment, you have to be invested in the outcome.Take a more active role in your health and let us know how it goes! Did you follow the tips at your recent appointment? Do you have any other tips to share with the community? Let us know in the comments or in the forum!