Top Ten Tips for a Successful Doctors Office Visit

Doctor taking a patient's blood pressure.
  1. Bring an organized list of medications that you are currently taking. If possible, you should list the dosage, frequency and reason for why you take each medication.  In addition, it’s often helpful to list out the prescribing physician for each. Also, don’t forget to include any vitamins and supplements that you may be taking!
  2. Call ahead. Life is unpredictable, if you’re stuck in traffic, don’t be afraid to call ahead and let us know.  We may be able to squeeze other patients in your time slot, freeing up time to see you in an efficient manner when you are able to arrive.  On the other hand, if you’re free and wanting to come in for your visit a bit early, try calling and seeing if one the earlier slots has opened up. We appreciate communication!
  3. Bring a list of all your medical providers. If you’re someone that requires medical care from many different types of physicians, it’s helpful for your Doctor and the office staff if you have a list of those providers and their contact information. Medicine is best practiced collaboratively, so it helps us quite a bit if we can easily communicate with your other doctors and their staff.
  4. Create a symptoms diary prior to your visit. For example, if you have arthritic knee pain, it is helpful for your orthopedic surgeon to know how long the pain has been present, what activities make your pain worse and what treatments help or don’t help.  Thinking about these questions before your appointment can help make your doctor’s visit more efficient!
  5. Bring a list of questions. No one is satisfied from a medical visit with unanswered questions!  If you’re visiting a surgeon about a hip replacement and have done some background research, list out your question.  Perhaps you’d like to know the difference between Anterior Hip Replacement and Posterior Hip Replacement, or whether Robotic-Assisted surgery is right for you. Either way, if you’re not organized with your questions, some of them may be left unanswered.
  6. If you are a new patient, allocate enough time for the visit. Don’t be in a rush!  The best physicians are thorough, with no stone left unturned!  Sometimes more testing may be warranted, a special physical exam may need to be performed, or extra time taking a history may be required to come to up with the correct diagnosis.  A new patient visit shouldn’t be rushed. You want your physician to take as much time as necessary to come up with the correct diagnosis and plan for the best result.
  7. Take notes! Despite our best efforts, much of what is explained or discussed at a doctor’s visit is forgotten or misunderstood.  When your doctor is reviewing your diagnosis and the available treatment options, it’s a good idea to take notes.  Not only will you have the information readily available for your review after the visit, note taking is an excellent way to internalize new information!
  8. Bring a family member or close friend. The more the merrier, within the correct context of course!  Bringing a friend is not only important for social and emotional support during the visit but it is also a continuation of tip #7 – you get another set of ears for interpreting the doctor’s recommendation.
  9. Bring in important medical records. If you’ve had recent blood work, imaging, or any other pertinent medical information from previous doctor’s visits, please bring those records in. Often additional tests or orders can be avoided and we might be able to expedite your care if everything we need is on hand.
  10. Complete the intake forms! As a doctor, even I recognize how annoying and mundane it can be to have to complete these forms prior to your visit.  However, the information we get from these forms is critical to your overall patient care. Often these forms may be available online on your physician’s website. If you’re unable to complete these forms before the visit, consider arriving to your visit early to allow for extra time to complete the required paperwork.

 

Ultimately, the best office visits occur when the patient is relaxed and at ease.  The best physicians never want their patients to be nervous, overwhelmed, or afraid to comfortably engage in the encounter.  In order to counter any anxiety prior to your next doctors visit, preparation is key.  Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

 

Dr. Ugo Ihekweazu, is an orthopedic surgeon and an expert in Hip and Knee Replacement surgery in the Greater Houston Area.  Dr. Ihekweazu is a member of the Fondren Orthopedic Group with offices in the Texas Medical Center, Sugar Land, and Willowbrook/Cypress. Dr. Ihekweazu has particular expertise in minimally invasive anterior and posterior total hip replacement surgery, hip resurfacing, partial knee replacement, minimally invasive total knee replacement surgery, computer navigation, robotic-assisted surgery, complex joint replacement and revision joint replacement surgery.  If you have further questions about any of these surgical options please contact us today to make an appointment.

Author
Ugo Ihekweazu, MD Orthopedic Surgeon Hip and Knee Replacement Minimally Invasive and Revision Surgery

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