In order to get the most out of a doctor’s appointment, a patient has to not only feel comfortable having a candid conversation with the doctor, but also be able to understand and remember what the doctor says. A patient who feels too nervous to ask questions or too anxious to absorb the doctor’s words may miss out on important information.
Health advisors partner with patients and their medical team to improve care, and doctor’s appointments are a place where advisors really show their value. A knowledgeable health advisor, or even a trusted family member, can help a patient receive better care. They accompany the patient to the appointment and use their knowledge of the patient’s preferences to plan care, communicate key medical information, take reliable notes, and manage transitions. Doctor’s appointments do not have to be stressful or scary.
Here are BHA’s top tips for maximizing a doctor’s visit:
1. Start with the right doctor. Choosing your doctor involves complex considerations, and it's important to find the right kind of provider for your condition.
2. Select the right person to attend with you. A health advisor or family member who understands the healthcare system and has holistic knowledge of all of your care, providers and insurance, can provide valuable insights during and after the appointment.
3. Prepare ahead of time. Take time to understand your medical history, note your current symptoms, and create a list of questions.
Key Tip: The head nurse is often a point person so it may help to communicate patient information to the medical practice’s head nurse prior to the visit.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If something is said during a visit that doesn’t make sense to you, say so. Doctors are a resource to you and asking for clarification won’t hurt.
5. Promptly take next steps. After the visit, follow up on next steps, such as referrals, bloodwork, and filling prescriptions.
Key Tip: Identify what next tasks the doctors (or their practice) will handle and which ones are your responsibility.
“If there is one thing I’ve learned since starting this company four years ago, it is the impact of being in the room when it happens.” - John Samuels
You don’t have to face your next doctor’s appointment alone. Reach out to the Better Health Advisors team to find out how we can help you manage your unique health needs.