Get Better Care - Guide to Medical Appointments

Get Better Care Get the most out of your medical appointments with advice from Louisiana Health Finder about what you should do before, during, and after your visit. Click here for a Medical Appointments Guide.

 

Before your appointment

Sometimes, medical appointments go by so quickly that you can miss out on the information you want to get. Be ready for your visit with some advance preparation.

  • Write down your questions and concerns. This way, you can refer them to your doctor during the appointment. Consider symptoms you have had, family history you think is relevant, or exposure you have had to other people who have been ill.
  • List the medications you take. Include over-the-counter medications, prescriptions, vitamins, and herbal remedies. Be ready to provide this list to your physician.
  • Ask someone to go with you. When you are interacting with your doctor, it can be difficult to focus on the information he or she is giving you, whether it is because you are dealing with an illness or because you are keeping in mind other issues you want to address. Having a partner there can improve your experience at the appointment and help you remember what was said.
  • Gather all your paperwork. This might include your insurance card, photo ID, and relevant medical record. Have them ready for your physician and the medical office in case they request them.

During your appointment

Take control of your health by following these steps when you have your visit with the doctor.

  • Explain why you made your appointment. This helps the doctor focus on your areas of concern and helps you address each of the issues you are having.
  • Answer the doctor's questions. The information you give should be complete and truthful so that the doctor can diagnose and treat you correctly.
  • Be clear about your doctor's diagnosis and recommendations. If you are having trouble understanding your doctor’s advice, it is important to go over the questions you have. During the appointment, you may want to write down what you want to ask so that you can get the information before the visit is complete. Some good questions to address:
    • Why is it important for me to have this treatment?
    • How will this treatment help? Do I have other choices?
    • What is this test for? What will we learn from doing this test?
    • What side effects do I need to watch for?

After your appointment

Take these steps to deal with your medical issues more quickly and more effectively after your visit.

  • Follow through with the doctor’s recommendations. Go in for tests, schedule follow-up appointments, try new medications, or follow your treatment plans according to your physician’s guidelines.
  • Watch for problems. If you notice new symptoms, let your doctor know right away.
  • Follow-up with your doctor as needed. Call your doctor's office if you have additional questions or if you were expecting to get information from the medical office and have not received it.