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  • Jan 24, 2020

Simple doctor visit checklist

A visit to the doctor’s office, whether it is your first trip, a routine checkup or a sick visit, may cause anxiety.

By Family Medicine Physicians Fa'iz Bayo-Awoyemi, MD, and Matthew Desir, MD

A visit to the doctor’s office, whether it is your first trip, a routine checkup or a sick visit, may cause anxiety. Being prepared is one of the best ways to make your visit more manageable.

In order to make the most of the appointment with your provider (especially if you only see your primary care team once a year), here are several important topics to cover. Before heading out the door for the office, spend time jotting down the information below and bring our notebook along. You’ll be able to collect specifics and ensure you are not missing anything by taking good notes.

  • Write down an up-to-date list of your medications or bring your current medications to your appointment with your primary care team. If you can, the list should include the name of your medication(s), dosage, strength, and the name of the provider who prescribed each one.
  • If you are a new patient, bring any vaccination records. If your records are lost or not available try to piece it together from previous healthcare providers, home records, schools or colleges, previous employers and the local immunization registry.
  • Think about how you are feeling and record any pain or other symptoms. Simply saying “my back hurts” may not be very useful so try to be as detailed as possible. Qualify the kind of pain - sharp or dull, constant or sudden, and its location - right or left side of the body.
  • Note any variations in your normal routine. Has your sleeping or eating changed in the past six to twelve months? Has your weight shifted? Maybe a personal situation at work, or at home, has caused a fluctuation in your health. Share this information with your provider.
  • Finally, know your family history. Have certain members of your family; mother or father, grandfather or grandmother, suffered from specific illnesses? Your provider will want to know so they can help you address these health risks.

Take a moment to learn more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the importance of regular check-ups and other tips for trips to the doctor.

This articles provide general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this article, or through linkages to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation or the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider.

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