By Eileen B. Wyner, NP
Bulfinch Medical Group
A medical appointment is a really big investment. It takes time from our busy lives that may impact our employment or family commitments. It costs us financially through transportation costs, parking fees, childcare expenses and copays. It also can cause anxiety and uncertainty because of worry about the outcomes of tests (on top of all of the other things I mentioned). Even so, a medical appointment is the single best investment you can make in your healthcare. The best way to gain the most from this investment is studying the night before. That’s right, just like preparing for that all important math test it’s worthwhile to prepare for your upcoming medical appointment.
Remember, you and your health care provider are teammates working for the same goal: the best health you can achieve. Using the tips below to prepare for your appointment will help you both get the most out of your time together.
- Review your prescriptions and see if you need any refills on medications or supplies. It is also important to have updated pharmacy contact information so your prescriptions are not delayed, and check to see if you need any specialty referrals.
- Make sure that you have your updated insurance information and photo ID with you. Medical offices do not automatically receive insurance changes, so it is important to check this information at each appointment to prevent issues with bills and referrals. You can update your address and phone number at this time if they have changed since your last office visit.
- Allow plenty of time to get to your appointment and park so you are not late. We try to accommodate people who are late but sometimes it can’t be done.
- Please be patient with me if I am running late. I work very hard to keep on time because I value YOUR time, but if I have a very sick patient, I may run behind. I promise that I will still give you the time you need for your care.
- Don’t forget to bring any results from home such as blood pressure, weight, and blood sugar checks. The information I get during the office visit is just one snapshot in time; seeing it along with your home results gives me a clearer picture of your health.
- Write down any questions and concerns you want to talk about during your appointment.
- Take notes during the appointment and use the same notebook for each visit. This will help keep all of your information organized and in one place if you need to review something you’re unsure about.
I know being a patient is a full time job for many people, and it can be daunting to keep track of everything that goes into good self-care and good health. I think that preparing for your appointment, just like studying the night before the math test, can make this process less overwhelming and as successful as possible.