Avoid These Doctor Appointment Mistakes

Smiling medical professionals at appointment with mother and daughter.

Each year Americans schedule over 884 million appointments with their doctors, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These visits take time, and most require payment or an insurance copay. Make the most of the experience by avoiding these doctor appointment mistakes.

Arriving late or right at the appointment time

Make sure to get to the doctor’s office at least 15 minutes before your appointment time. Check in with the office staff to let them know you’ve arrived. You’ll probably need to provide your I.D., insurance card, a copayment and complete office forms. If you arrive early, you can finish these tasks before your appointment, so you don’t cut into your scheduled time with the doctor. Being late is one of the most important mistakes to avoid.

Forgetting a list of medications and allergies

Your doctor needs to know the medications you take and any allergies you have. If you don’t have this information, the nurse or doctor will need to make a list. There’s a good chance you may forget about a drug you’re taking or something you’re allergic to. This is a mistake you cannot afford to make. For meds, bring a list of the drugs, the dosage amount, and the number of times taken each day. This list should include over-the-counter and prescription medications, and even vitamins. The information will help the doctor evaluate your health and identify the best treatment options during your appointment. If a new prescription is required, the doctor will need to make sure the medication won’t react with other drugs you’re taking.

Leaving out details about your health history

When discussing your health concerns with your doctor, provide complete information about your medical history. This includes family, sexual and drug history, along with medical treatments. The doctor needs this information to have a good understanding of your health needs, so he/she can provide the best advice and care possible. Make the most of your doctor appointment by sharing all of your information. Even if you are embarrassed for some reason, please don’t make this mistake.

Not providing records of other doctor visits

When seeing a new physician, he/she will want to review your health records. Contact the offices of other doctors you’ve seen to request and complete the required forms to have your medical information sent to your new physician. This process can take several weeks, so plan ahead to ensure your new doctor has a complete record of your tests and treatments. This will make your appointment so much easier.

Relying on your memory

When visiting the doctor’s office, many people are anxious and stressed, or focused on their health concerns. For example, after seeing the doctor, you may remember important details or questions you wanted to ask. Before the appointment, make a list of your symptoms, concerns and questions you want to discuss with the doctor. Ask a friend or family member to come with you to help you ask questions, and to take notes on what the doctor says.

Medical terms can be confusing! Read this blog to refresh your memory on 20 common health care and insurance terms.

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