prepare for anappointment

before you see your doctor

It's not uncommon to find doctor visits stressful. However, that stress can make you forget to ask important questions. Use this checklist to make the most of the time with your doctor. It can help offer peace of mind and make for a more comfortable visit.

  • Jot down any medical symptoms you have, when they appeared and anything you've done that's made you feel better or worse.
  • Note times and numbers of home tests, such as your temperature.
  • List all medicines you take, including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, herbal products and vitamins, and write down the name and number of your pharmacy.
  • List any allergies, especially those concerning medicine or food.
  • Review your family history, such as serious illness or surgeries. “Family” refers to your parents, grandparents on both sides and siblings.
  • Review your diet and exercise habits, as well as your recent sleeping habits.
  • Make a note of any other health concerns you might want to discuss.
  • Think about what you want from your doc on this particular visit.

during your appointment

Ask your doctor:

  • What his/her diagnosis might be.
  • If he/she will be ordering any tests. If so, ask what he/she is hoping to find out.
  • If he/she recommends a treatment plan and how you can prevent a repeat occurrence.
  • Before you leave, find out if you need to call for results, if your doctor will call you or if you need to make a follow-up appointment.
  • If you get a prescription, ask if it has any special instructions or side effects.

after your doctor visit

  • Follow your doctor's advice
  • Call your doctor's office if you don't understand any of the instructions, if you feel worse, if you experience worrisome side effects from any medication, or if other problems appear.
  • Make and keep any recommended follow-up appointments.