So, how to improve the doctor appointment experience and make the most of it? Know yourself. This is where it’s crucial that you’re actually open with your doctor and actually know your actual history. Medical history. Do you have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, et cetera? And how long have you had these diseases? You gotta remember, the longer you’ve had a disease like diabetes, the more time it’s had to do damage to your body. Surgical history. Have you had any surgeries in the past? Heart surgeries, your appendix or gallbladder taken out? Now, it’s also kind of important to know when the dates of those surgeries are in your history. Family history. Know the medical history of those in your immediate family. Your mother, your father, your siblings. But also your extended family, because remember, many diseases are genetic or actually run in families. Social history.
What do you do for a living? Where do you live? Are you married? Do you have kids? Do you have a good social support system? Have you ever smoked? Used alcohol? Done any illicit drugs? Now this is kind of the point where it’s crucial that you be honest, okay? Remember, this is not about judgment. We’re not judging you. This is to get a good, accurate history of you to see what’s going on with you. Allergies. It’s crucial for your doctor to know if you’re allergic to any medication, but also what happens to you when you take that medication. Do you get hives? A rash? Do you get swollen? Or do you have anaphylaxis, which is like a shock. Particularly because the doctor wants to make sure that he never prescribes that medication to you. Medications. Honestly, I prefer my patients actually bring their physical bottles of medications to the appointment so I can go over with them myself.
Honestly, I don’t trust a list and I don’t trust most people’s memory. But if you want to make a list, make sure you write down the full name of the drug, the dosage in milligrams, and how many times a day you’re taking it. Keep logs of your health. You can keep logs or spreadsheets of certain key health markers of yourself at home. This includes weight, blood sugar and blood pressure. These kinds of logs give your doctor the most accurate assessment of what’s going on with you. Instead of the snapshot he gets when you come to the appointment. Know the doctor. This is where you do your due diligence on the doctor themselves. Make sure they’re covered under your insurance policy, but also look them up on their website but other review websites like Google, Healthgrades, Vitals, and WebMD.
Look to see if they’re board certified in the field you’re about to see them in. Do they have a presence on social media and make awesome videos? Wink, wink. But seriously, try to get to know them before even meeting them. And always remember, you hold the power. So if you don’t like them, you can always switch to another one. Know the disease. This, to me, is extremely crucial for the patient to feel like they have control over their own lives. Do not play Dr. Google and go to random websites that give you quirky treatments. Rather, go to the reputable websites. So if you have kidney disease, go to the National Kidney Foundation website, if you have heart disease, go to the American Heart Association website to get the real information. Learn the key terms in the disease, so you can ask your doctor about them. So if you have kidney disease, know terms like EGFR and creatanine. If you’re diabetic, you should know the term HBA1C. Also before your appointment with your doctor, whatever questions you have, write them down. That way when you get there, you can get the most out of that appointment. Let me know what you think. I really want to make sure that you have the best doctor experience.