If you'll be seeing your doctor because of a new condition, you should first prepare at home.
- Review your new patient packet and fill out the health history and information disclosure forms.
- Keep a log or diary of any new or disturbing symptoms, even if they seem unrelated to your diagnosis. If you don't write them down, you may remember only those symptoms you actually feel when you're seeing the doctor.
- Write down the questions you'd like to ask your doctor. You can even make a copy to share with your doctor.
For your visit:
- Bring a list of the medications you take or the bottles themselves.
- Bring your questions and symptom diary with you.
- Bring a photo ID and cards or other documentation for the insurance being billed for the appointment.
- Don't hesitate to bring someone else with you to your appointment. Give a copy of your questions to this person so that he or she can remind you what questions to ask. Introduce this person to your doctor, telling your doctor that you appreciate this person's presence during the consult.
- Ask your doctor for permission to record your visit so you can review your doctor's explanations after you get home. At the very least, you or the person you bring should take notes during the visit to help you remember the discussion.
- Ask the doctor your most important question first. The answer you receive may change the order or nature of the other questions you want to ask. Listen carefully, and note the answers as well as any other questions they may raise.
- Ask your doctor to make a full and understandable explanation of his or her diagnosis of your condition as well as various treatment options and their consequences. Ask for his or her recommendations for treatment and for the final prognosis.
- Make decisions for a specific treatment when you’re ready and feel comfortable with your decision.
- If you have any doubts about your diagnosis, the recommended treatment, or your prognosis (with or without the recommended treatment), remember that you can always get a second opinion. Tell your physician or the clinic nurse that you would like a second opinion, and ask for the names of other recommended specialists.