How to get the most out of your visit?
Like any service industry, healthcare service often struggles with time crunch. If you have been to doctor's visits once or a few times, you must be familiar with that feeling of not being able to discuss everything you wanted to and get all your questions answered because the doctor was running behind, or multiple patients were waiting for their appointments after you and there was no way everything could be addressed.
So to not get disappointed and get the most out of your visit, consider the following.
1. Set Your Goals:
Status of your health is mostly determined by a combination of your genetic make up, environmental influences and personal choices. Among these, you have most influence over personal choices and preferences. It is important to think about your goals and decide where you fit in the spectrum from being someone who places health on the top of the priority list to someone who has other more pressing things to address and taking care of health is low on the priority list.
Set your health goals. Look at the following three types (Health - Enthusiast, Health - Moderate, and Occasional Visitor) and pick the type that fits you the best.
Your preferences and priorities help develop your health care related action plan.
Although the health - enthusiast style is more conducive to producing and
maintaining a good quality of health than the health - moderate and
health - slacker styles, there is no right or wrong style. Personal preferences
and priorities are often shaped by complex circumstances and these evolve
over time. An occasional visitor can transform to a health enthusiast or an enthusiast
may slack some due to any challenges. It is important to know where you are so
that you can align your goals, preferences and action plans accordingly.
2. Make a List of Your Symptoms:
a) Write down a list of symptoms: If possible,
write down a timeline and identifiable triggers
of these bothersome symptoms.
b) Categorize these symptoms: Each organ system
can produce a multitude of symptoms and generally
these go together when an ailment is acquired.
For example, gastrointestinal symptoms include
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain etc.
Respiratory symptoms include cough, shortness
of breath, wheezing, chest pain etc. Neurological
symptoms include headache, dizziness, memory
loss, numbness, tingling etc. If symptoms are
chunked together into systems, it makes it easier
to make diagnoses and save time. So when
describing your symptoms, group them together
within organ systems instead of jumping from one
category or organ system to another. Shown here is a
sample of various symptoms and how these relate
to different organ systems.
c) Prioritize these categories: Depending upon the number of symptoms, it may not be possible to address all in one visit. So prioritize your symptoms and decide which ones you'd like to address first.
3. Organize Your Medical History:
Create a list of all current medical conditions or diagnoses, current medications, current supplements, past medical diagnoses, surgeries and hospitalizations.
4. During Your Visit:
Make sure to ask all questions and clarify all action items. Do the following to reduce number of phone calls after the visit.
a) Obtain your lab results if you are interested in keeping a record. It is generally a good idea to do so because it will help you monitor and take proactive steps to improve your health.
b) Ask for all medication refills during the time of the visit. Even if you do not need some of the refills at the time, ask for all the refills to make sure your medications will last you until the next appointment. This is to reduce any phone calls in between visits and to avoid any confusion.
c) Similarly, ask for any procedures, referrals and screening tests for which you may be due. Review this document to determine what health screening test you may need based upon your age and gender.
5. After Your Visit:
Your journey to great health continues after your visit and you are always welcome to stay in touch and reach out for any questions or your health care related needs. While reviewing your lab results, feel free to refer to the page "understanding your lab results" for additional details about individual labs and what these mean. In addition, please refer to the document provided to you at the end of your visit and communicate accordingly.