Jan 10, 2014

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5 Ways to Maximize Doctor Visits

Ways to Maximize Doctor VisitsGetting everything out of your doctor visit is critical for maximizing results and getting the attention and care you desire.  You spend about 30 minutes out in the waiting room, 20 minutes sitting in the actual patient room after all of the necessary nurse procedures (blood pressure, height and weight measurements, etc.) and only about 15 minutes speaking and interacting with your doctor if you are lucky.   Because of this short amount of time spent with your physician, it is very important to maximize every moment you have with him or her.  In this article, we will be offering you five ways to maximize doctor visits.

Ways to maximize Doctor Visits

  1. Plan Ahead – The night before your actual doctor appointment, make sure you have all of your “ducks in a row”.  What is the purpose of this doctor visit?  Write down all of the things and expectations that you have while visiting the office.  This will help to organize your thoughts and better make use of your time with the doctor.  Try to avoid telling your doctor lengthy stories because it will take away from what you truly want out of the appointment; instead, set goals for the visit, write down your questions and concerns and present them to your doctor.
  2. Do Some Research Beforehand – If you are experiencing certain symptoms, it is all right to go to your computer and “Google” them.  Although the Internet has a lot of information to offer, you can still help your doctor out a bit by doing your own research.  Be certain that the information you are reading, however, is coming from a trustworthy and credible website.  The reasoning behind doing your own research is so that you can be a more informed patient, and better equipped with the knowledge that you need.  Additionally, you will be better able to talk out your symptoms and reason with your doctor about certain medications and methods of curing or treating your symptoms.
  3. Write Down The Doctor’s Recommendations and Instructions – Paying close attention and writing down what your doctor instructs you to do will help you to better understand the recommendations after you have left the office.  It can be very frustrating to forget what your doctor recommends for your symptoms or medical issues.  Nowadays, however, many practices are utilizing what is called Electronic Medical Records (EMR) for documenting your visit.  If this is the case at your doctor’s office, then you can request a copy of this for your own records.
  4. Try To Stick With What Is REALLY Going On – Many patients tend to overwhelm their doctors with many complaints and issues.  Try to stick with what you were originally seeing the doctor for.  You want to receive the best and most attention to your actual and truest issues.  Most appointments are made to discuss a certain issue or as a simple follow-up, so make your beforehand lists and questions about that particular appointment.
  5. Don’t Do All Of The Talking – Once you have voiced your issues and concerns, allow your doctor the chance to explain and offer his or her expertise.  A good rule of thumb is to listen and then repeat what has been stated in your own words, just to make sure you understand everything your doctor is suggesting and instructing.

Making the most of your doctor visits is important and maximizes your chance of receiving just what you are expecting before arriving.  Make sure you prepare, write down your concerns, stick with the plan and listen at the office.

What ways do you maximize your doctor visits?  Do you have any special beforehand activities you do for improving the care you receive at your appointment?  If so, please leave your comments below.

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  • Mara

    Being a new mother, I have found that it is very important to maximize all of my son’s pediatrician visits – otherwise the doctor does not offer any time to us. I have found it very beneficial to write down all of my concerns and questions the night before the doctor visit. It helps me to collect all of my thoughts as well. I do need to learn how not to do all of the talking, and let my doctor have some time to speak – that is one aspect I am going to start working on!!

  • Harvind S

    This is something that is overlooked in a lot of other peoples lives I am sure. In the business world, it is always important to set expectations and have an agenda. And to prepare! A physicians’ time is hard to get too, and very expensive. One thing I have noticed is that medical offices are becoming more friendly to WiFi, so once I know I am prepared for my visit, I use my waiting time to multitask on my tablet. If you can’t beat the wait time, you might as well make the most of it.

  • Bert

    This is no shocking revelation, but the inneficiency of our healthcare system results in wasted time and wasted money. I try to be flexible about which doctor I visit and when. When I have a short-term concern (I just need an antibiotic to clear up an infection), I don’t see my PCP. I prefer going to walk-in clinics where I can consult with a physician’s assistant and get in and out quicker (and cheaper).

  • Sherman

    I know that wait times can vary from visit to visit, but there are some physican practices that are more conscious of wait times than others. It is worth doing some inquiring around to find an office that puts an effort toward managing this issue. Ask your friends and relatives how their doctors do, read reviews online and do some shopping around yourself if you have to.