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4 Tips for Productive Physician Visits

4 Tips for Productive Physician Visits

The doctor-patient relationship is an important factor in aging well. While most people aren’t overly excited to visit a physician’s office, most understand the role preventative medicine plays in avoiding a medical crisis and the importance of intervening early enough for treatment to be effective.

To help make appointments with your physician more productive, we’ve put together a few tips.

4 Tips for Productive Physician Visits

  1. Keep a health journal: Staying on track with your diet, exercise goals, medication schedule, and doctor visits is easier when you are organized. Maintaining a health journal is a useful tool. Take a few minutes at the end of each day to document wellness goals met (e.g., how much water you drank or if you had a good night’s sleep) as well as anything out of the ordinary that happened. Doing so can help you spot trends that might indicate a problem.
  2. Prepare a list of questions: A day or two prior to your doctor’s appointment, look through your health journal to make notes on any concerns you have. Make a list of any items you want to ask the physician. The hurried atmosphere of many doctor appointments often makes it intimidating to quickly remember what questions you wanted to ask. Having a prepared list will make it easier to review everything. Remember, even the busiest of physicians want to hear your questions so they can take a proactive approach to managing your health care.
  3. Keep a portable medical file: Another step you can take to make doctor appointments go more smoothly is to create a medical file with all of your health information. This is especially helpful for older adults who see multiple physicians at different medical centers. Having extra copies of medications lists, results of medical tests, and your medical history will make it easier to share with your physician. While most doctors utilize electronic patient records, it often takes time for information to be updated, especially for physicians in different health care networks.
  4. Follow doctor’s orders: Talk with any doctor and they will likely tell you one thing that makes physician appointments less productive, and that is when patients don’t follow doctor’s orders. For example, if your physician has instructed you to take an over-the-counter iron supplement and you don’t, the physician might be frustrated when he or she sees you again. If there is a reason you can’t follow doctor’s orders, call the office to alert the staff. Maybe the iron supplement is upsetting your stomach too much to continue taking it. The physician might have another solution for you to try.

Using these tips will likely help you feel as though you’ve made the most of your doctor’s appointment when you leave.

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