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4 Steps for a Better Doctor Visit

Your time is valuable, so you want every minute with your doctor to count. By taking a little time before your appointment, you can sail through the check-in process and maximize your time with your doctor. Also, you might avoid other visits to address something you forgot to bring or mention. Use these four tips to help you get organized.

1. Bring it.

Your photo ID, your member ID card, a notebook and a friend or family member you trust (if you want company).

2. Write it.

Write down symptoms you are having, including when they started and what it feels like. Be specific and completely honest. “There’s no need to be embarrassed,” said Dr. Hundley, medical director at Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield. “Believe me; I’ve heard it all. I can’t help you if you hold back information.”

3. Bag it.

Grab a bag and put all your prescription bottles in it – every medication from every doctor you see, including over-the-counter medicines and supplements you take. Dr. Hundley said, “If there’s one piece of advice I could give to make office visits go smoother, it would be: take all your medications to every doctor visit. That one thing would prevent so many complications.”

4. Share it.

If you smoke, drink alcohol, use illegal drugs or have other risky behaviors, make a note to mention during your appointment. Your conversation with your doctor is private and confidential.

Remember, putting things in writing is key. Many people think they’ll remember everything, only to realize on their way home they forgot something important. That may mean you’ll have to schedule another visit, which is more time and money.

Doctors want their patients to be active participants in their healthcare decisions, so chances are your doctor will be impressed with your preparation. The more you participate, the more you’ll get out of your visit.

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