By Vivian A. Kominos, M.D., FACC
Nobody knows more about you than you. Go to your medical visit prepared to get the most out of it. The face-to-face time you have with your doctor or nurse practitioner is limited so take advantage of this time. Studies have shown that patients who fill out detailed checklists prior to their visit are more satisfied with their medical care. Here is a list to get you ready:
Symptoms and concerns: If you have specific questions or concerns, write them down and bring the list with you. If you are having any symptoms, keep a diary. Include what you are feeling, when it starts, how often it happens, how long it lasts and if anything makes it better or worse. If you are having any pain, make sure you note the type of pain (e.g., burning, sharp, dull), the location and whether it travels to any other part of the body. Also include any symptoms that occur with the pain.
Medications: Make a list of all your prescription and over-the-counter medications including dosages. You should know why you are taking these drugs. Update this list often and keep it with you in your purse or wallet.
Supplements: If you are taking any supplements, you should list the brand, the supplement and the dose.
Allergies: If you have allergies, list the reaction. For example, you may have had an itchy mouth, hives or wheezing.
Family history: It is recommended that you review your family history prior to your visit. List your relatives, living and decreased, along with ages and their diseases.
Your medical history: Make sure you are familiar with your own medical history. List dates of operations, procedures and illnesses. It is a good idea to keep a “chart” of your own history.
Your lifestyle: Be prepared to be honest about the food you eat, the amount and type of exercise you participate in, any relaxation techniques you use and how you sleep. Be honest with yourself and don’t be afraid that you will be judged.
Finally, make sure you feel comfortable with your doctor or nurse practitioner. Is she/he forming a partnership with you? If the answer is yes and if you prepare for your medical visit you will be happier with your medical care!
At Hackensack Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine, we take a patient-centered approach and partner with you to provide personalized care. We understand the provider/patient relationship is a vital component in your health, and seek to optimize wellness for your mind, body, and spirit.
Yours in good health!