How to Get the Most Out of a Doctor's Appointment

It's easy to feel hurried and confused at a doctor's appointment or unsure of the information and instructions you are given.

The medical system is complicated and may be overwhelming. But with a little preparation you can become your own health advocate. In order to get the best possible outcomes, it really helps to be active.

Here are some ways to make sure that you get the most out of a visit to the doctor.

Get Ready Ahead of the Doctor’s Appointment.

How many times have you left a doctor's appointment only to think of a question that you wish you'd asked during the appointment? This can be easily resolved by creating a list of questions ahead of the visit to the doctor’s. The questions can be about something complicated, including your treatment, or simple, like if you should get a flu shot. Write down your own questions, because it is so easy to forget everything you wanted to ask.

Describe Your Symptoms to the Doctor

Give all information regarding your symptoms and other health concerns, even when you're not asked. The doctor needs to understand why you are there and what is bothering you. Take into consideration which health problems you may have. Are you currently struggling with insomnia, or feeling depressed all of the time, or having even more heartburn than normal? The more information your doctor has, the better he or she can get to the bottom of what's going on with your body.

Ask the Doctor Questions

Remember, it is your body and you should be the person who is most motivated to know about what’s going on with your body. It is much better to be pushy than not to understand what to do to take care of yourself. Ask your doctor anything and everything, and write down the answers.

Bring a Buddy to the Doctor’s Appointment

Because doctor’s appointments may be a little confusing, it will help to have an extra pair of ears to pick up on directions and other information. It is tough to keep track of all the information from your doctor. Having someone who can take notes and help you have more info can be helpful, because it can be overwhelming to listen to information about a new diagnosis or complicated changes to your medicines.

Bring Drugs You’re Currently Taking

Bringing your current list of drugs to show your physician helps the physician understand what you're taking. Include the names of the medications, the doses, and the schedule of when you take those drugs. This includes vitamins, nutritional supplements, and over-the-counter medication. You can also simply put all of your pill bottles and other medicines in a reclosable plastic bag. That's easier for you because you don't need to write down complicated names and doses.

Get a Recap of the Appointment.

Before leaving your appointment, ask for a recap. Write things down, so you can recall what you talked about after the doctor’s appointment. And also, make sure to know how to contact your physician's office if you have further questions. How are you supposed to let them know if the treatment is--or isn't--working? How can you get in touch with somebody?

Prepare a consultation with a doctor for your child.

From the first week of his birth, your child will have to become used to the presence of the white blouses around him. Doctors check the growth and the development of children and diagnose when necessary. You have a role in the efficiency of the doctor evaluation work, how can you prepare?

Before the consultation

You can choose for your child to be followed by a family doctor or a pediatrician. The first can see him without any restriction, while the second is limited to the age of maturity of 18 years old. It is a completely personal choice who will not harm your child.  Anyway, if a more thorough consultation is needed, you will be referred to a specialist or redirected to the E.R.

After you have chosen your specialist and you have obtain an appointment, you can list the questions you have. Those can be regarding the health, the alimentation and the development of your child. You can prepare him by being franc with him on how a consultation goes. Use simple words that will be easy to understand. To reassure him, he can carry with him a blankie or a doll.

When he is older, ask him to speak himself with the doctor and remind him that your presence is not necessary. It will make him feel more at ease to speak with the professional. Above all, to be well prepared for an appointment with the doctor, there is a list of items that you should not forget to bring with you.

During the consultation

The professional has the task of measuring the development and the growth of children. Once in his presence, ask all the questions you have listed prior to the appointment to be sure you maximize the meeting. Make your child participate by asking him directly questions and by letting him answer himself to the doctor so they can create a trust bond. For the smaller ones, don’t be abrupt with them and be reassuring.

The pediatrician and the family doctor do not only take care of the physical health of children. They also evaluate their affective and cognitive development and their alimentation. This makes the consultation the perfect time to discuss with professionals about everything that concerns your child.

Between appointments

After the first year of life of your child, he will see his health professional at least once a year. If you have questions between those consultation, you can always call info-santé/info-social to get the needed info.

What to bring before a consultation with a doctor?

You succeed in getting an appointment with a doctor for a consultation. Better be well prepared and have in hands the necessary so everything can go smoothly. Here is a guide to help you to be organize and to maximize your consultation time.

Manage the waiting time

Even if you have booked an appointment with a doctor, whatever if he’s practicing in a clinic or in a hospital, you will almost certainly have to wait. The first thing you should bring is something to keep you busy in the waiting room. A good book is often good company in those times and it’s easy to carry. If you are with a child or a baby, do not forget diapers, milk or snacks and one or two games.

Items to bring

Besides taking a book with you to the consultation, there’s several objects your doctor or his desk would need. In the case where your appointment is at a hospital, bring your establishment card so they can retrieve your file. If you do not already have one, at your venue the admission will surely produce you one.

To be able to help you well, your doctor needs to know as much as possible your habits and your medical history to date. The clearer the better, so you should have with you an update list of your medication. You can get that from your pharmacist. It will give a more complete view of your situation for the consultation.

If you have one, your vaccination booklet can be useful. It is particularly practical for people that get vaccines regularly, like big travelers. The vaccination booklet records a list of vaccines you have got, but also have the dates. Those info makes the needed subsequent vaccines easier to detect.

The most important item you should carry with you for your appointment is, obviously, your Health Insurance Card! It is the first thing they will ask you to give when you get to your appointment. That card is the one giving you a free access to health services.

In recapitulation, for your consultation, you will need something to keep you busy, your hospital card if needed, a to date list of your medication, your vaccination booklet and, above all, your Health Insurance Card.

How to get an appointment when the secretary says there’s no more place?

Clinic or E.R.

Before going to the emergency, you called a clinic to make an appointment quickly. This is what it’s told to do when you’re not in a critical state, right? Unfortunately, the secretary tells you there’s no place for you. What should you do?

It is better to give a call to your family doctor’s office to be sure you’re going to have an appointment. However, it is possible that they’ll give you a distant availability. Besides, it is not rare that the nearest appointment free proposed by the secretary is in couple of weeks. That situation causes a long wait that can be uncomfortable when one is in pain or trap with limiting symptoms.

Adress the doctor

You have access, in Doctr’s app, to a list of public and private’s clinics. Depending on your localisation you have the nearest services with their info’s. That allows you to register into a walk-in clinic if your looking for a quick way to get a consultation.

Another way of getting an appointment with a doctor is to talk with the secretary. Doctors have the duty of giving medical help to whoever needs an urgent attention and whom address to him. Thus, you can leave a message to the secretary for the doctor. In that message, you can describe your symptoms and leave your contact info asking a call back.

The doctor who is going to take the message, especially if your health state has any potentially dangerous symptoms, will free a space to receive you. He could also make a colleague see you promptly.

This trick is not an infallible way to pass in front of people who have a more pressing and real need to consult. It is, nevertheless, a way to have access to a doctor when we seriously need it. You should still favorized the list of health services provide in Doctr’s app to always be equipped.