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How to Prepare for Your Next Medical Appointment

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How to Prepare for Your Next Medical Appointment

By Doug Summers, Clinical Co-Director of Jewish Family & Children’s Service’s Glendale Healthcare Center

Have you ever been to the doctor and been so caught up in the appointment that you forgot to mention a symptom or ask that one burning question? You’re not alone. We all do it.

The following checklist will make sure you’re prepared and ready to make the most of your next doctor appointment.

Top 10 Things to Bring to Your Next Medical Appointment:

  • Be sure to bring your photo ID and most recent insurance card. People move and insurance ID numbers change. Do you have the most current version in your wallet?
  • Are you experiencing any symptoms? Make a list of all the symptoms you are experiencing and be sure to document if and how they change throughout the day. This will give your doctor a better idea of what's going on and how the symptoms may be impacting your life.
  • Do you have any questions? Be sure to create a well thought out list of questions you may have and bring them to your appointment. If you live with someone, ask them if they can think of anything you should add to the list.
  • How many times have you arrived home from an appointment, been asked for a recap and then realize you don’t remember everything? Take notes. Be sure to bring a pen and notebook to your next appointment. You’ll be glad you did. And besides, it’s always a good idea to carry your own pen…especially during cold and flu season.
  • Do you have a copy of your complete medical history? It’s a great idea to keep records and bring them to all doctor appointment. The history should include current and past health issues, past surgeries, vaccinations, doctors’ names, test results and allergies (both medical and environmental).
  • Bring a list of your current medications and be sure to include frequency and dose.
  • Everyone LOVES paperwork. Take the time to fill out requested medical forms in advance of your appointment. This will ensure you have the time you need to fill them out properly.
  • If your appointment is because of a referral, don’t forget the referral paperwork. If you don’t have a referral form, bring the name of the physician, address, and telephone number of the doctor.
  • Everyone needs an advocate. Bringing someone to your appointment is not only great for support; it’s also good for helping you remember details and expressing concerns.
  • A positive attitude. A hopeful outlook can make a big difference.

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