How to Have a Successful Doctor's Appointment

If you feel intimidated by the thought of going to the doctor’s office, then you are not alone. Many list a visit to their physician as an activity they would least want to do. However, in pursuit of wellness, a trip to the doctor is often a must. Therefore, to make the best use of your time, here are some tips for navigating a more successful visit and to ensure you receive the best care.

First, be clear and concise in communicating your reasons for your appointment and goals for treatment. Your medical professional wants to see you satisfied with your care. If you explain exactly what you are hoping to achieve, it will give both parties a better chance of success because you will be pining for the same goals.

Secondly, review your medical history with your healthcare provider. This is relevant if you have a long medical history or without one at all. For instance, if you regularly fill out the patient intake papers and ask for additional sheets, it would be beneficial to keep a written document to hand to any provider who needs it. This saves significant time and hand cramping rewriting your history every time you see your doctor.

Additionally, a lack of a medical history is an important thing to convey to your provider. For example, I recently saw a client who shared that their orthopedic surgeon recommended a spinal fusion. Through continued questioning, I learned that she had never broken a bone nor had surgery of any kind! This will be an important factor for her and her surgeon to consider as such surgery would be a tougher rehabilitation process for her first surgical experience.

Also, when discussing your care with a practitioner, don’t be afraid to disagree or remind them of facts in your medical history. Doctors are people too and imperfect just like everyone. Sometimes, they might need reminders that the results of various tests are in your chart or that there is a reason you did not want to try a certain treatment in the past. Being your own advocate can be empowering and your participation in your care will better ensure that you are on the same page.

When in doubt, write it out! If you are unsure if you will remember to ask a question, mention a fact, or communicate a concern, write out a list in advance. Bringing a family member or loved one to accompany you can be a fantastic tool as well! I fondly remember being invited to a patient’s orthopedic consultation. I attended with her, her son, and two of her friends. I loved that the surgeon took the crowd in stride and seemed pleased that his patient had so much willing support. Together, we all made a great team.

I hope this discussion has been encouraging for any of you upcoming doctor’s visits. Be confident and communicative and this will start you in the right direction toward wellness!

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Phone: (805) 543-5100      
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1422 Monterey Street, Suite C-102  San Luis Obispo, CA, 93401
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