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How to Prepare for your Doctor’s Office

How to get the most out of your visit to the doctor.

By
Rob Lamberts, MD,
June 15, 2010
Episode #051

Page 1 of 3

When going to the doctor, giving him or her the most accurate information possible is a vital step—your doctor might not be able to make an accurate diagnosis without it. But as you may have noticed, you only get a limited time with the doctor, so it can be easy to forget important facts and details in the moment. The best way to have an efficient appointment and ensure you get quality treatment? Pretend you are a Boy Scout: be prepared.

Today’s article is a selfish one; I’m going to tell you how to make your doctor happy by giving you tips on how to prepare for your visit. Not only will you make your doctor happy, but you’ll also benefit from better treatment.

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How to Prepare for Your Doctor’s Office

In my article on how doctors solve medical mysteries, I talked about how important it is for a doctor to listen to the story the patient tells. A good doctor knows what questions to ask to get the story straight, but it’s far better when the patient cooperates. Here are a few things that you can do to prepare for your doctor’s office and tell a good story:

Tip #1: Write Things Down

Taking a few minutes to get your facts straight will make a big difference. I’m not sure why, but people get nervous when they come to the doctor and they forget to mention important facts. Here are some things you should always know:

  • When did the symptoms start?

  • Have you ever had these symptoms before?

  • Have you taken medications for it? Did they work?

  • Is there a pattern to your symptoms? Do they happen at a certain time of day, or after eating?

  • Is there anything you do that makes you feel better or worse?

Also write down anything else you want to ask the doctor. Remember, you have limited time for the visit and you may forget important things.

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