How to Talk to the Doctor

We have strategies for making the most of your doctor's appointment.

By FamilyTime


Make the most of your time with the doctor. Her schedule is bound to be busy and your time is precious, but don’t let either inhibit you from getting what you need. The more organized you are before your appointment, the better the experience will be.

Before the Appointment

Make a list of the medication you take. Plan to take the actual bottles with you or write down the exact names and dosages.

Make a list of all supplements and vitamins you take.

If you are experiencing symptoms, make note of them. Try to pinpoint when they are worst — such as in the evening, after exercising, before eating, and so on — and when they subside.

Make sure you have an up-to-date insurance card for the doctor’s records. Know your family’s medical history. If you are not sure, call a relative who might be able to help you.

The Appointment

Arrive early for your appointment. This way, you will have ample time to fill out any forms the doctor needs. This is particularly important if this is the first meeting with a new doctor.

Get right to the point with your doctor. Don’t waste his time being embarrassed or reluctant to describe what’s bothering you. Refer to your notes and tell the doctor everything so that he can make an accurate diagnosis.

Take notes during your consultation with the doctor. If she is not clear about something, ask more questions. No question is too small when it comes to your health.

Ask questions about what tests you should have. Your age and sex will determine some of these. On the other hand, if the doctor recommends a test that you do not think is necessary, make sure you understand what it’s for before agreeing to or refusing it.

After the Appointment

Follow your doctor’s advice. It is counterproductive to ignore it, even if you think it sounds futile. This is part of developing a relationship with the doctor and establishing trust, which is all important.

Follow up with the doctor about tests you’ve had. Don’t count on him to call you with results, even if he says he will. Take responsibility for your own health.

If you experience a side effect from any medication, call the doctor and discuss it. If you don't feel her advice about lifestyle changes is working, call and discuss or set up another appointment to tackle the problem.

The sooner you and your doctor build a relationship you can depend on, the better your health care will be. And that’s the whole point!