My friend John Brandt sent me the excellent list below. It is the advice of retired cardiologist, Martin Krauthammer, that will help us get more out of office visits with our doctors.
Some items seem obvious, but we don't always follow our best instincts and it's easy to forget. You might want to print out this list for yourself and keep it somewhere that you'll be sure to consult before your next physician visit.
- Keep an up-to-date list of all your medications on your computer, including drug name, dosage and frequency. Print several copies and carry one with you to the doctor and have one in your pocket at all times, just in case.
- Call the doctor’s office before your visit to ensure that your test results are in. No need to see the doctor if he doesn’t have your results.
- If you have more than one physician, make sure they all have your full, current medical profile.
- Write down your questions for the doctor before an office visit and remember to take the list with you.
- At your office visit, if you have questions or new symptoms, volunteer them first. The doctor can address them before appointment time gets short at the end.
- On the list of questions, leave room for the answers and write them down, particularly instructions on medications. Who can read doctors’ prescriptions?
- Because writing answers to your questions during an office visit isn’t always easy, bring a significant other or a trusted friend to be another pair of ears so you don’t forget important instructions. You might even record the answers.
- If you’re treated while traveling or away from home, get copies of all pertinent records for your home doctor. It’s more efficient to extract them from a medical practice in Athens face-to-face than to request them by email, fax or carrier pigeon later.
- The night before your office visit, put all your information and questions for the doctor in the car. That way, in the morning, when who knows what happens to distract you, you won’t leave the important stuff on the kitchen table.
- Establish rapport with the doctor’s office staff. You always want to be known as the person you are rather than your disease or your chart number.
Are there others you would add to the list?
Dr. Krauthammer gave his list during a talk at the Y's Men of Westport/Weston Club in Connecticut and it was posted on the ctnews.com blog.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Barbara Sloan: Snow Birds