Do you ever leave your doctor’s office and think of questions you forgot to ask?
I’ve done this too many times, but now I’ve developed a plan which has turned out to be highly successful. Here’s what I do.
Create a Fact Sheet
For each doctor’s visit I create a “fact sheet” with the following information.
§ Name, Date, Occupation
§ Insurance Provider/Coverage
§ Current Medications and Dosage
§ Reason for Today’s Visit
§ Current Concerns and Symptoms
§ Updates Since Last Visit
§ Questions for the Doctor
§ Prescriptions to Renew/Comments
Store Files on Your Computer
Preparing a Fact Sheet before each visit helps me keep on track and assists the doctor in guiding my care. I prefer to create a separate Word file for each fact sheet and use the “save as” feature, in connection with the doctor’s name and appointment date, to build upon previous files. I keep these sheets in a folder labeled “doctor visits” which provides a quick reference to the concerns I have had over a wide range of visits.
Routine Blood Work
In the days/weeks before the visit, I make sure that I’ve completed the appropriate blood work as I have a standing order to check for liver function. I always request that a copy of the report be sent to me at home and to each of my doctors.
Like any overly organized person, I keep a spreadsheet into which I enter the results from each test. This way I can easily compare and track changes over time and discuss them with my doctors.
Occasionally I will collect the various prescription bottles and calculate how long the supply will last. If there are no refills, I absolutely include that on my fact sheet. If I have only four months left and my doctor’s visits are averaging every six months, I mention that on my fact sheet.
It really is easy to go prepared for your doctor's visit. Preparing a Fact Sheet gives you a chance to think about all of your questions in advance, to lessen the change that you will forget to discuss something important during your limited time. Printing the Fact Sheet also gives you something to hand to your doctor which can be placed in your file.
Do you have any suggestions or recommendations for how to better prepare for a doctor’s visit? What am I forgetting to do? Help me be better prepared.