Monday, January 30, 2012

Planning for a Doctor's Appointment

I attended the e-patient Dave bootcamp last week, and one of the things that really struck me is his asking if you plan for your visits at the doctor. His point was that you wouldn't schedule an appointment with any other type of professional without an agenda or plan. While I do tend to do this to some degree, it was a big area that hit me that I could certainly do better.

Some ideas of things to plan.

1. Make sure you bring a current list of medications, problems, and allergies
2. Document any problems you are having with as much detail as you can, but summarize it in a table format if possible (date, symptom, comments/triggers, what you tried to do about it)
3. Write out any questions you know you want answered ahead of time
4. If you have found any information on the internet that you want to discuss, summarize it (bring the details or the links to the full thing)
5. Bring any test results that you think are relevant - don't assume they have seen them if they were done somewhere else

If your doctor is tech savy, you might email this information ahead of time so that they can be on the same page as you are before the visit. It is also helpful to document what happened at the visit from your perspective, and you should always get a copy of your note, results, etc for your records.

Remember, the best that you can summarize the data, the more likely they will look at it. If you show up with 50 pages of text, they are NOT going to sit and read it at your visit. Many patients get frustrated because they feel ignored when they bring in a huge thick file. Give them the high points in a table or spreadsheet or at least a bulleted list.

I am going to try to be better about this myself, and I will update on my progress! Please let me know about your eperiences too!

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