With busy schedules and tight budgets, it is always a good idea to plan ahead for your clinic visits in order to get the most out of them. Physicians are responsible for providing the care, but patients who make good use of those 15 to 20 minutes position themselves for better results. While it is not always possible for your provider to address every concern at each visit, you can do a few things in advance to help you and your provider work together most effectively:
Making your appointment
- Tell the scheduler if you have more than one health issue to discuss. Some clinics can offer extended exams — ask if one is available. If not, prioritize the issues in your mind. Even if you do not have time to discuss them all at one visit, list them upfront when your appointment starts, because the doctor might hear something that raises a red flag and prioritize them differently.
Before your appointment
- Take a few minutes to consider your health and make some mental or written notes. Any changes since the last time you saw a doctor? No need to account for every ache and cold, but note persistent illnesses or significant differences in how you feel.
- If you currently take medication, write down names and dosages. On that same list include any supplements — over-the-counter or homeopathic. This is important because many seemingly benign supplements can create a negative reaction when taken with prescribed medications. If you prefer, bring your medications and supplements with you, so the clinical team can note them.
Day of appointment
- Arrive 10 minutes prior to your appointment to allow enough time for checking in at the front desk. If you are more than 10 minutes late, we will make every attempt to still see you; but we may need to reschedule your appointment.
- Please bring with you to every appointment:
- Your insurance card.
- Photo identification.
- The previously mentioned list of or the actual containers of any medications that your provider has not previously prescribed for you.
- Write down a list of important questions to ask your provider.
- Tell a member of your care team if you have experienced any significant medical events since your last visit.
- Be fully engaged with your provider. Briefly explain your symptoms instead of accounting for every chronic ailment, which can cloud the acute condition that brings you to the clinic. Feel free to mention your specific concerns, but resist the urge to diagnose yourself. Be honest. Don’t hold back information out of potential embarrassment. We know that privacy is your expectation and our obligation
- Inform a member of your care team if you need any refills or referrals.<
Information on our Patient Forms
page will help you organize your past medical information and the topics or issues you would like to discuss with your provider. These forms are especially helpful if you are a new patient, visiting for a routine physical or establishing obstetrical care.
Even if we have your complete medical files, we recommend that you keep a running list of any new concerns. Bring this list with you to each appointment so you can address your concerns with your provider.
With a little planning before each visit, you and your provider will be able to focus on the issues that are most urgent and matter the most to you.