August 12, 2020
When visiting a new doctor for the first time, there are a few simple things that you can do to make the most out of the appointment. This is important to set a strong base for your future appointments and relationship.
This is a given, but if you are going to be seeing your doctor frequently, it is a good idea to become acquainted during the first appointment. Introduce yourself to both the doctor and the office staff and let them know if you have a preferred name.
Note down which days are the busiest and the best time to call. Ask who you can contact if there is an emergency or what to do if you need to visit a doctor after office hours.
When talking with your doctor, let them know about your illnesses, operations, medical conditions, and whether or not you see any other doctors or specialists. You can ask for a copy of your medical records from your previous doctor or you can also complete a medical history form before you visit. If you have trouble understanding how to fill out your form, you can have a Healthcare Advisor attend the appointment with you or prepare you for it. There are also some community organizations that provide this type of help.
Give your new doctor information about all your former doctors, including their names and addresses. Your new doctor may need to know who to contact to get copies of your medical records. Before doing so, they will ask you to sign a medical release form which allows them to request your records.
Insurance cards (eg. Medicare, Medicaid) along with a piece of picture ID such as a driver’s license. If you don’t have insurance, ask for permission to pay in cash when making your appointment. By paying in cash, you are able to deny giving them your social insurance number if you are worried about medical identity theft.
A list of prescription medications and vitamins that you have with the name of the drug or supplement, the dosage, and how often you take them. You can also bring all your pill and supplement bottles in a bag as they will have the dosage written on them. If you drink alcohol, smoke, or chew tobacco or marijuana, also note that down.
Notes about your family’s medical history that may affect your health along with your own health history. Make sure to write down any chronic conditions and illnesses along with any surgeries you have had.
Most of these pointers are applicable when attending any doctor’s appointment, even if you see them frequently. You can also get accustomed to always preparing for a doctor as you continue to see them.