Preparing for Your Doctor Visit

A good physician-patient relationship is essential for your continuing good health. You can help develop an optimal relationship by preparing in advance for your scheduled office visits.

If you are preparing for your first visit with a new doctor:

Make sure that your previous medical records are available for review by your new primary care physician. You may arrange to have copies of these records sent from your previous provider directly to your newly selected physician. Your new physician will need to know your past medical history including information regarding past illnesses, conditions and treatments. The doctor also will need to know about what prescription and over-the-counter medications you are taking or may have taken in the past. Be sure to tell your physician about any allergies you may have or any adverse reactions to medications that may have occurred.

What your physician needs to know when you are being seen for an illness or injury

  • How long you have been ill or when the injury occurred?
  • Is there a known cause for your problem?
  • What do you think is the cause of you problem?
  • What are the names of any medications you are taking?
  • What strength and how often do you take them?
  • Remember to include any herbal remedies and over-the-counter medications on  your list.
  • Do you have any allergies?
  • If you are in pain, is it steady or periodic; sharp, achy or dull?
  • Is your condition getting better or worse? Is there any known cause of this perceived change?
  • Have you had this illness/injury before? How was it treated?
  • Have you had any changes in body temperature, heart rate or breathing?
  • Are you being treated for any other medical conditions?
  • Are there any other symptoms or important information your physician should know?

Questions to ask your physician

  • What is my diagnosis and how can it be treated or prevented?
  • What medication should I be taking, how much and how often?
  • Are there any common side effects I should be aware of?
  • Should I avoid certain foods, juice or alcohol while taking the medicine?
  • Does my illness or injury restrict me from any of my normal daily life activities?
  • If you are awaiting test results, who should call whom and when?

Remember that patient involvement always results in better care and a more satisfying physician-patient relationship.

If you have a prescription benefit, remind your doctor which insurance company is responsible for your coverage. This will allow your doctor to determine if the medication you need is covered by your health plan. Remember that investigational medications or medicines taken for cosmetic purposes are not covered under your prescription benefit.