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POV: Make the most of doctor’s visits

The person you bring can help remind you of important information to tell your doctor and help you remember the doctor’s response. They can also help you deal with serious concerns or surprises and help you focus on healing.

Set and understand your goals

When your doctor prescribes a medication, ask questions.

What does the medication do? How does it work?

Don’t simply accept a prescription. Be sure to follow dosage instructions and measure your progress. Measuring your progress will allow you to avoid being over- or under-medicated.

For example, if you are prescribed a medication to reduce your blood pressure, ask your doctor to state the goal clearly; you can then monitor your progress. Your doctor may alter your dose based on your progress.

Follow up

At the end of your visit, review your list of questions again.

Call your doctor’s office back promptly if your symptoms get worse or if you have problems with any prescribed medication or interaction between medications.

Test results can get lost or delayed. If you don’t get timely reports on your blood work, X-ray, scans, pap test, EKG, or colonoscopy, reach out to your doctor for an update. Remember, you are entitled to see everything in your medical file.

You can also request written reports and ask for an explanation of items that aren’t clear. Keep those written reports to share information with other doctors or clinicians, as necessary.

When going to an office visit, carry your health records with you in a wallet card or jump drive. When you are at home, be sure to keep them secure in a waterproof home safe.

Information is vital when it comes to your health, for both you and your doctor. Make the most of each visit by asking about all of your concerns and sharing important details about your health with your doctor.

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