Prepare for an Appointment

A visit to your doctor may be stressful for some people. The checklists below may help make the most of your time with your doctor.

Before you see your doctor:

  • Make a note of your symptoms, the order in which they appeared, and anything that makes them better or worse
  • Note the results of any home testing, such as your temperature
  • Bring a list of any medicines you take, including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, herbal products and vitamins
  • Have a list of any allergies, especially concerning medicine or food
  • Know your family and personal medical history, which includes surgeries, serious illnesses, etc. (family is defined as mother, father, siblings and grandparents)
  • Think about your eating and drinking habits, how well and much you sleep or exercise, etc.
  • Make a note of any other health concerns you might want to discuss with your doctor
  • Bring along your pharmacist's phone and fax numbers
  • Have a clear idea of what you would like your doctor to do for you

While you’re with your doctor:

  • Share the items listed above
  • Ask what he/she thinks the diagnosis or problem might be
  • Ask what tests, if any, are needed
  • Be sure you understand what you need to do to treat the problem, and how you can prevent it from occurring again
  • Find out if you are expected to see or call the doctor again
  • Be sure you understand the possible side effects of any medicines your doctor prescribes

After your doctor visit:

  • Follow your doctor's advice
  • Call your doctor's office if you don't understand any of the instructions
  • Tell your doctor if you feel worse, have other problems or side effects from any medicines
  • If you have an appointment for a return visit, keep the appointment