Most people only go to the doctor when they are feeling sick. This is usually not enough time for the doctor to get a full picture of your health, and they may not be able to give you the best advice if they don’t have all the information.
In this article, we will discuss 25 things that doctors wish patients knew before their visit. By following these tips, you can help make your doctor’s job easier and get the most out of your appointment!
Things Patients Should Know Before Their Visit
Doctors see a lot of patients every day and often wish they could tell them all the things they need to know before their visit. It would make everyone’s life a lot easier if patients were better prepared for their appointments, so here are 25 things doctors wish patients knew!
#1 – Doctor is your advocate
Your doctor is on your side and wants to help you in any way possible. They want to get to the bottom of whatever is going on with you and will do their best to ensure you receive the care and treatment you need.
If there’s something you’re concerned about, don’t hesitate to bring it up. We would much rather you tell us about it and have it be nothing than to keep it to yourself and have it turn into something serious.
#2 – Don’t wait to get help
If you’re feeling really sick or something doesn’t seem right, don’t wait to come in and see us. The sooner we can catch and treat something, the better.
Waiting too long to come in can result in your condition worsening or becoming more difficult to treat.
If you’re ever unsure, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and come in for a check-up.
#3 – Well visit vs. sick visit
A lot of times, patients come in for a “sick visit” when they actually just need a “well visit.”
Well visits are important because they allow us to proactively prevent illnesses and detect problems early on, when they’re often more easily treatable.
So if you’re feeling generally healthy, but just need a check-up or to get some vaccines, schedule a well visit instead of a sick visit.
It’ll help keep you healthy and save us all time and resources in the long run.
#4 – They can’t see you for more than 15 minutes
I wish patients knew that most insurance companies only allow us to schedule 15-minute visits.
That might seem like enough time, but it’s really not.
In those 15 minutes, we have to take a patient history, do a physical exam, discuss test results and treatment options, answer questions, and document everything in the medical record.
It’s a lot to fit into such a short time frame!
If you have more than one issue to discuss with your doctor, schedule a longer appointment or come back for a follow-up visit.
We’d love to spend more time with you, but it’s just not possible in those 15 minutes.
I know that many people have to take time off work or arrange childcare in order to see the doctor, and I completely understand that it can be difficult to do that.
But if at all possible, try to schedule longer appointments or multiple visits so we can give you the time and attention you deserve. Trust me, it’ll be worth it in the end.
#5 – Know if you’re covered
Before you even step foot in the doctor’s office, make sure you know your insurance coverage.
What tests and procedures are covered?
Do you have a deductible?
How much will you be responsible for?
If you don’t have insurance, what are your options?
The last thing you want is to be surprised by a huge bill, so it’s important to do your research ahead of time.
#6 – They can’t give an antibiotic for a cold
If you have a cold, the flu, or any other viral infection, antibiotics won’t do you any good.
They can only treat bacterial infections, so save yourself a trip to the doctor and just ride it out at home.
Of course, if you start to feel worse or develop any concerning symptoms, be sure to give your doctor a call.
#7 – Know your medical history
Before your visit, jot down any important information about your medical history.
Do you have any allergies?
What medications are you currently taking?
Are there any conditions that run in your family?
The more information your doctor has, the better they can treat you.
#8 – Know your family medical history
In addition to knowing your own medical history, it’s also important to know your family’s.
Your doctor will want to know if anyone in your family has had any serious health conditions, such as heart disease or cancer.
This information can help them better understand your risk factors and tailor their treatment recommendations accordingly.
#9 – It’d be helpful if you track your symptoms
If you’ve been experiencing symptoms for a while, it can be helpful to track them before your appointment.
Make note of when they started, how often they occur, and anything else that might be relevant.
This information can give your doctor a better idea of what’s going on and help them make a more accurate diagnosis.
#10 – Bring someone along with you
If possible, it’s always a good idea to bring someone along with you to your appointment.
They can help you remember what the doctor says and ask any questions you may have forgotten.
Plus, they can provide moral support if you’re feeling anxious about the visit.
So if you can, bring a friend or family member along for the ride.
#11 – Tell them if you’re taking herbs or supplements
Herbs and supplements can have powerful effects on the body, and some of them can interact with medications.
So it’s important to tell your doctor if you’re taking anything other than prescription drugs.
This includes vitamins, minerals, herbs, and any homeopathic remedies.
Let them know what you’re taking, how much, and how often.
If you don’t, they may not be able to properly treat you.
#12 – Disclose other doctors’ visits
If you’ve seen another doctor for the same problem, mention it.
Your current doctor will want to know what was done and what the results were.
They may also want to talk to the other doctor to get more information.
This is especially important if you’re seeing a specialist.
Your primary care physician will need to coordinate your care with the specialist.
If they don’t know what’s going on, it can cause problems.
#13 – Bring any forms they need to fill out
If your doctor’s office sent you forms to fill out before your visit, bring them with you.
If you don’t, the visit will take longer as they try to track down the forms.
Some offices may even charge a fee for this.
#14 – Know previous hospitalizations
If you’ve been hospitalized in the past, your doctor will need to know.
This is important information that can help them treat you better.
They’ll also want to know if you have any allergies.
Some people are allergic to certain medications or medical procedures.
It’s important to let your doctor know if you have any allergies.
Some people are also allergic to latex.
If you’re allergic to latex, be sure to let your doctor or the staff know before your visit.
They can make accommodations for you so that you don’t have a reaction.
#15 – Arrive on time
This one should be obvious, but it’s worth mentioning.
If you arrive late, your doctor may not be able to see you.
Or, they may have to rush through the visit to accommodate other patients.
Both of these scenarios are bad for everyone involved.
#16 – Remember your last period
For women, this is important for a few reasons.
Your doctor will want to know when your last period was so they can determine if you’re pregnant.
They may also want to know if you’re of childbearing age so they can prescribe certain medications.
If you’re menopausal, your doctor will want to know so they can treat you accordingly.
#17 – You really have to take your meds
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t take their medications as prescribed.
Maybe you think the side effects are too severe or the meds are too expensive.
But not taking your meds can have serious consequences.
Your doctor can help you find ways to make taking your medications easier.
#18 – Bring a list of questions
When you have a list of questions, you’re more likely to get the answers you need.
You can even email your doctor ahead of time with your questions so they can be prepared to answer them during your visit.
And don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions if you didn’t understand something the first time.
We want to make sure you understand everything we’re saying.
#19 – You have unrealistic expectations about curing pain
Sometimes pain can’t be cured.
But your doctor can help you manage it and make you more comfortable.
Remember that pain is different for everyone, so what works for your friend might not work for you.
And don’t expect miracles – even the best doctors can only do so much.
If you have any concerns about your health, make an appointment to see your doctor.
We’re here to help you – that’s why we became doctors in the first place!
We want to help you live a long, healthy life.
#20 – The Internet can be wrong
You might think you know everything about your health condition because you read it on the Internet.
But be careful – not everything you read online is true.
Talk to your doctor before making any decisions about your health.
We can help you sort out the facts from the fiction.
The Internet is a great resource, but it’s not always accurate.
#21 – Be mindful of the information source
When you’re looking for health information online, it’s important to be mindful of the source.
Is the website reputable? Is the information backed by science?
Be critical of what you read, and always talk to your doctor before making any decisions about your health.
Websites like WebMD can be a great resource, but it’s important to talk to your doctor before making any decisions about your health.
#22 – Ask them where they get updated information
Your doctor should be up-to-date on the latest medical research and developments.
If they’re not, it might be time to find a new physician.
You can also ask your doctor where they get their information from.
This will help you determine if they’re keeping up with the latest advancements in medicine.
#23 – Sometimes you don’t need to go to the doctor
If you have a common cold or the flu, chances are you don’t need to go to the doctor.
There are many over-the-counter medications that can help you feel better.
Drinking plenty of fluids and getting rest are also important.
If your symptoms persist for more than a few days, or if you have a fever, then you should consider making an appointment with your doctor.
#24 – Think of one goal you want to achieve before the next visit
Before your next visit, think of one goal you want to achieve.
This could be something like quitting smoking, eating healthier, or exercising more.
If you have a specific goal in mind, you’ll be more likely to follow through with it.
Plus, your doctor can help hold you accountable and offer tips on how to reach your goal.
#25 – The real answer is often your diet and lifestyle
If you’re not sure what might be causing your symptoms, don’t worry – your doctor will ask about your diet and lifestyle.
The real answer is often your diet and lifestyle.
Your doctor may recommend making some changes to your diet and lifestyle, such as eating more fruits and vegetables or exercising more.
Making these changes can help improve your health and reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Patients are often unaware of the expectations doctors have for them before a visit. By arming yourself with knowledge about what to do – and not do – you can help make your doctor’s job easier, and ensure that you get the most out of your appointment.
Now that you know these 25 things doctors wish patients knew before their visit, put them into practice the next time you go in for an appointment!