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Tips to Get the Most From Your Doctor Visits

Updated on January 28, 2013

Your Doctor Works for You

Think of your healthcare professional as an independent contractor; a supplier of medical advice, prescription medications and other tests or procedures.

It is extremely important that you work directly with your “contractor.” Just as you would be actively involved on a consistent basis with a contractor hired to build you a new home, you must be an active participant every step of the way with the care of your health as well.

Keep a Personal Medical Journal

You are your own best advocate. Keeping a record of your health care can really come in handy. Depending on your health issues, you may wish to document things on a weekly or even daily basis.

  • List your medical history. This may be important to recall at future appointments.
  • Document the dates and outcomes of doctor visits, immunizations, procedures, hospitalizations and surgeries.
  • Keep a current list of your medications, the purpose and dosages.
  • Keep an ongoing record of advice and suggestions from your doctor such as a special diet.
  • Jot down questions you’d like to talk to your doctor about.

Maintaining a personal medical journal for yourself is your way of taking care of yourself and will prove helpful to you and your doctors. It will also prove to be invaluable if you are switching doctors and health care providers.


Make a List Prior to Every Doctor’s Appointment

Many people are list writers. It helps to keep us organized. We write shopping lists, to do lists, notes for a meeting with our boss or a list of work we want our mechanic to complete on our car. Why not make a list of things you want to speak to your doctor about at your next appointment.

It is normal to be nervous when visiting the doctor. Sometimes we have to wait a long time before we actually get called in to see the doctor. We get tired, bored and frustrated. We may be running late for another appointment and feel rushed.

Having a list of things to tell your doctor and/or ask your doctor is critical for making sure you receive the best care. Also take your personal medical journal with you. Don’t take the risk of forgetting to discuss something important to you. Most doctors would prefer that you come in with a detailed list. It’s a wise thing to do.

If you are the caretaker of a child or an elderly person, it is also wise to prepare a list for their appointments as well.

Example of a List for Your Next Doctor's Visit

Created by Sharyn's Slant
Created by Sharyn's Slant

Know Your Medications

Regardless of whether or not you keep track of your medications in a personal medical journal, it’s important to always arrive at a doctor appointment with a current list that includes the dosages and purpose. If necessary, take the actual pill bottles with you. Be prepared to speak with your doctor about any medication complications or side effects.


Listen ~ Focus ~ Pay Close Attention

Paying close attention to what your doctor is saying is extremely important. If you do not understand something, always ask for clarification. If necessary, request that information be written down by the doctor or nurse for you.

Do not think ahead about something else you also want to discuss. Stay in the moment. Remember, you already have a written list so you will not forget.

A Second Set of Hands and Ears

Arrange for a friend or family member to go with you to your doctor appointment if you need support. Having someone else there to guide you and to hear the same thing that you are hearing could be helpful to ensure that everything is understood correctly. They could also help by asking questions that you may not have thought of. If you are unable to have another person with you and you feel you may miss important information, consider taking a voice recorder with you.

Be Open and Honest

Let’s be frank. Your doctor cannot properly help you if you are not open and honest. Tell your doctor everything they need to know to give you the best care possible. Let them know if you are having difficulty following a specific treatment plan so that they can work with you to make changes.

Contact Your Doctor Anytime

Do not ever be afraid to contact your doctor, day or night if needed. If they are not in the office, they likely have an answering service that can get a message to them or they will contact the doctor that may be on call. Remember, they work for you. If the reason you are trying to reach your doctor is a life threatening emergency, immediately call 911.

Below you will find some fascinating statistics that you may be interested in.

Wishing you the best in getting the most out of your doctor visits.

This is Sharyn's Slant

U.S. Ambulatory Care Use and Physician Visit Statistics

Age Group
Had Contact With a Health Care Professional
Source: 2010 Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics

U.S. National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey Statistics

Total Number of Visits
> > > > 956 Million
Number of Visits per 100 People
> > > > 320.1
Percent of Visits to Primary Care Physician
> > > > 60.5%
Most Frequent Principal Reason for Visit
> > > > Medical Examination
Most Commonly Diagnosed Condition
> > > > Essential Hypertension
Source: 2008 Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics How to Get the Most From Your Doctor's Visit

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    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Sweetie ~ You are very welcome. Being "prepared" for a doctor's appointment can really make a difference in getting the correct treatment and advice. Thank you for your feedback.


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Steph B ~ Glad to hear this will be helpful for your upcoming doctor visit. Good luck and thanks for stopping by.


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi RTalloni ~ Well thank you. I hope many people use this important advice. Thanks so much for your feedback.


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Kathryn ~ sorry it's taken me so long to respond to comments this past week. Thank you for the compliments. Glad to hear you take the time to prepare a list for your doctor appointments. It really does make a difference. I'm sure many people can relate to forgetting to ask something until after the appointment is over. I appreciate your great feedback.


    • sweetie1 profile image

      sweetie1 5 years ago from India

      This is very good advise. My very good friend is a dentist in a big hospital so when ever I need a doctor all he says is come with your old report and we would see what to do if anything needed to do. And then he would take me to the specialist which I wanted to see. But now I know how to be ready to face the doctor. Thanks for sharing .

    • stephanieb27 profile image

      stephanieb27 5 years ago from United States

      Great advice! I am one of those that hasn't been to the doctor in years, this hub will help me prepare for my upcoming visit!

    • adrienne2 profile image

      Adrienne F Manson 5 years ago from Atlanta

      Really good article! The information is very useful. I have been saying for years, I am going to be prepared by writing my questions down before going to see the doctor. Keeping a journal is so helpful, and a practice I really should do. Reading your hub is that extra reminder to JUST DO IT, and stop saying it. Thanks for a great hub. Congrats on your hub of the day.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Top-notch info for patients and/or their advocates. You offer important advice that should be taken to heart.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 5 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Sharyn, Congrats to HOTD award! It is well-written, with very good advice.

      I have been writing basic info on my health, as well as any questions for my doctor for about 5 years now, and it is so much more efficient. I remember the days of feeling unprepared, and forgetting what I was going to ask. But with a list, you can focus on what is most important, and make sure the visit is as productive and informative as it can be.

      Good job on your hub!

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hello Euro ~ great to meet you. Thanks so much for stopping by.


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Ruth ~ I appreciate you stopping by to read and comment. Thank you so much!


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi CC ~ yup, it's important to be your own advocate. Even if you do not regularly see a doctor, being your own advocate for natural medicinal purposes is great! Thanks so much for your feedback!


    • EuroNinila profile image

      Fotinoula Gypsyy 5 years ago from NYC BABY

      Great hub! Voted up and useful!

    • profile image

      Ruth Pieterse 5 years ago

      Interesting and useful hub. Voted up.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      Interesting article! I love how you really are your own advocate. I, for one, will not see the doctor. I know that's bad, but I'm a believer in simple and natural. Then, if I'm really concerned, I'll go. But, I don't like doctors. At all, lol. This hub is awesome, though! Nice job!

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Marsei ~ Oh yes, I understand when you talk about doctors listening to us. They are human and make mistakes. We know our bodies best also. So we need to speak up and keep speaking up.

      I love that you mentioned your husband is hard of hearing. I just wrote a hub on the topic, ha. I do understand since I take my father to his appointments. He never wants me to go in with him and I know he does not hear everything. So we've gotten to a point where we agreed that the doctor would come out and talk to me too.

      Thank you so much for your great feedback. I'm so glad you stopped by.


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi B. Leekley ~ You are very welcome. Thank you for your votes and sharing too.


    • Marsei profile image

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      I am so glad you wrote this hub. It is extremely important, especially for older people. As far as advocating, my dad told his doctors for months that he thought he had consumption while they treated him for pneumonia. My sister finally requested they test for TB. Of course, when the test was positive, they realized they had lost all those months of treating the TB. I could write a book about similar events with friends and family. I think it's so important that our doctors listen to us. You have wonderful suggestions for making that happen. I always enjoy your hubs and find them useful.

      My husband is becoming hard of hearing at 67 and I worry about him going to appointments alone because he misunderstands things to a point that is almost comical if it weren't sad. He's very independent and would have a fit if I asked to go with him. Speaking as one, at 66, older people are their own worst enemies!

      Voted up.


    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 5 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Thanks for the very helpful hub. Up, Useful, Interesting, shared, and bookmarked.

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hello rmcrayne ~ Thanks for your feedback. I will have to check out your hub! I'm sorry to hear that it isn't getting the traffic. Maybe change a few things and see what happens. Thank you so much for stopping by.


    • rmcrayne profile image

      rmcrayne 5 years ago from San Antonio Texas

      Great tips and important information. I wrote a similar hub almost 3 years ago. Unfortunately it's gotten virtually no traffic. I've considered unpublishing it, but I send the link to friends and colleagues from time to time.

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Penelope ~ I'm so glad you found these suggestions helpful. Thank you so much for your feedback, congrats and votes.

      Hi pstraubie48 ~ I agree. I used to go with my Mom to her appointments and I go with my father still. It's even more important now since his hearing is getting worse. Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Hello travel_man1971 ~ I think getting a second opinion is a good idea. And I am glad to hear that you were able to speak to your doctor about a discount. My way of thinking is ask since then it is simply up to them to say yes or no. I recently went to a chiropractor for several visits and it was quite costly. I don't have health insurance but regardless, it would not have covered this anyway. I asked about a discount and he did work something out for me depending on how many visits I would have. I appreciate your feedback. Thank you!

      Hi MissOlive ~ Thank you so much for your compliments and feedback. All of this is extremely important when we are assisting our parents with their doctor appointments. When I used to take my Grandma (who lived to be 103) to the doctor, I always went right in the room with her and I had my list. She really needed me as a second set of ears to comprehend everything that was being said. Thanks for stopping by and sharing :)

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hello A Little TRUTH ~ While I am not fully aware of everything that you speak of, I am interested and will check it out further. Thank you so much for your lengthy feedback.

      Hi MsLizzy ~ I am sorry to hear of the problems you describe. For your doctor to be upset because you have a list is simply uncalled for. I do not have health insurance. I am "rated" and go to our local Metrohealth Medical Center. I am happy to say that I could not ask for better service. The doctors, nurses, secretaries, everybody, are just wonderful to work with. I am thankful for my experiences. I was hospitalized back in March for three days. I had not one thing to complain about (except the food). Because I am considered "low income" and rated through the Metrohealth system, I have no bills from that stay. I feel extremely fortunate. Thank you for your feedback. I hope your future experiences are much more pleasant.

      Vinaya ~ thank you so much for stopping by to wish me congratulations!

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      Sharon, I've come by this hub a few times and it appears 'goofy me' did not leave a comment. First and foremost, CONGRATULATIONS on your Hub of the Day a couple of days ago. This honor is definitely well deserved. You've laid out some very useful and important information here. We've been dealing with lots of appointments for our parents lately and it can be difficult to keep up with all the details. Thank you so much for this well laid out hub - great job as always!


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Cindy ~ Thank you for the compliments. I do hope this comes in handy for many.

      Ardie ~ Good point. Sometimes, doctors just do not have all the answers and we really need to be our own advocates always. I hope this will remind you to take good care of yourself. Thank you for your feedback!

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      KrystalD ~ Thanks so much for your compliments.

      Hui ~ I appreciate your feedback.

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Gail ~ One of my doctor's offices does give me a "sheet" that tells briefly what they did that day - that is computer generated. It's good to keep those in a file for reference. Thanks so much for your feedback.




      Thank you all so much for stopping by to wish me congratulations!

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA




      Thank you all for stopping by and the HOTD congratulations! Very much appreciated.

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi John Sarkis ~ Being in the healthcare customer service field, I'm sure you can see how important records and paperwork are. Thanks for the compliments and votes.

      Hi Rose ~ Oh yeah, since your husband is a doctor, I'm sure you can understand how important it is for the patients to be prepared. I could imagine something as simple as not knowing or having a list of medications with you. That alone could affect your entire visit with the doctor. Thanks so much for your feedback.

      Hello ComfortB ~ I am so glad you found this article useful. The list is important, especially if you are rushed by the doctor or just have time constraints for whatever reason. I appreciate your feedback. Thank you!

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Mary ~ I'm glad to hear you make a list for your appointments and also keep a medical journal. It is so important. Thank you so much for your feedback, follow and sharing too.

      Hi Paula ~ Thank you for stopping by with compliments :) I appreciate you.

      Hi ksinll ~ I agree of course, no one knows our body better than ourselves. If we don't communicate properly with our doctors, there is no way for them to know how to best treat us. And good point about the journal being so helpful especially if we change providers. Thanks for your feedback.

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Karanda ~ Yes, the list is really important. And you are right, waiting too long in between appointments, it's possible that you won't have time to go over everything on your list. Thank you for your feedback.

      ChaplinSpeaks ~ YES, it is extremely important that parents make a list to take when speaking with their children's doctor. Or like I do when I am taking my dad to the doctor. Good point. Thanks for the compliments.

      Hi Vicki ~ Thanks you so much for your feedback and compliments. I appreciate you stopping by!

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Great advice! Recently, I was ushered by my doctor to a specialist's clinic in order to remove the Molluscum contagiosum nodules on my face.

      I didn't visit the specialist immediately. I asked the second opinion of my friends.

      They also suggested other dermatologists who ask cheaper payment for my face-problem.

      To cut the long story short, I was able to convince the doctor's aesthetician (the one who cauterized my face) to give me discount.

      Referrals will always come in handy in the medical field.

      Treatments should not be expensive, if a patient has a healthcare fund to provide for emergency payment.

      As for me, I can't use mine because it's not included in the list of diseases that should cover such payment.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      This is great advice. The suggestion of having someone accompany you to the visit becomes increasingly important in the eighties. My Mother and Daddy always had one of us girls go with them to their appointments when they in their eighties. It just made sense and often avoided confusion. So glad you shared this information.

      Congratulations on hub of the day.

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 5 years ago from Rome, Italy

      You are so oooo right with all your helpful suggestions. And going WITH someone is a priceless tip, especially on consultations. When you get good or bad news, you tend to reel and not take in what is being said.

      Congratulations on Hub of the Day. It is such a useful good Hub. Voting.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Useful and informative hub!

      Congrats for well deserved HOTD.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Uh--yeah--your first point: Your doctor WORKS FOR YOU! Not the other way around, as some HMO's (Kaiser in particular), and county health clinics seem to think, making you jump through all kinds of hoops, and assigning random appointments without consulting you first.

      The first time I went to my new doc at the county clinic, I had just such a list (it had been some years since I'd needed to see a doctor at all), and when she asked me why I was there, and I told her I had a list, she snapped, "Well, you'd better prioritize; you've got 15 minutes!"

      I was a bit stunned, but reacted by basically ignoring that statement, and proceeding with my list. In the end, I WAS there longer than the 15 minute 'allotted time.'

      That really pissed me off, though--how dare they take the attitude that it's all about cramming through as many people as they can without giving proper and thoughtful attention to each patient! I hope no one reading this ever has to depend upon free health care--it isn't worthy of the name. For in the end, all they did was to send me for a passel of tests, and refuse to provide any of the treatments suggested by the test results!

      Voted way up, and shared.

    • A Little TRUTH profile image

      A Little TRUTH 5 years ago

      This is amazing, nothing but positive comments! There is a growing percentage of the population who are becoming aware that the US medical industry is set up to keep the people drugged, dying and near bankruptcy. (This becomes even more obvious if you go to a doctor outside of the US, Canada and Europe.) But maybe these people don’t usually bother with something as mainstream and politically correct as hub of the day, hence I’m the first one to comment here.

      The most important thing to ask your doctor is “Do you prescribe drugs?” If he says yes, run out the door.

      There are a lot of doctors who have given up their drug pushing careers and decided to actually help people get healthy, such as Dr. Mercola, Dr. Lorraine Day, Dr. Carolyn Dean, Dr. Caroline Barringer, Dr. Teitelbaum, to name a few. Some may want to check them out on the internet. (I don’t get anything from this other than the satisfaction of possibly saving a life or two.)

      Apples help keep the doctor away, but here’s two interesting ways to find out what the healthiest super foods are: 1) Go to an alternative news source (it will get filtered out of the mainstream news) and find out what the latest SWAT Team raid was about. Likely someone was guilty of possession of a healthy food or natural cure such as raw milk or apricot kernels. 2) Go to the FDA website and put in the search bar “warning letter”. You will get a list of warning letters that the FDA has sent to companies who are selling or promoting super healthy foods. (These letters are a precursor to the SWAT Team raids.)

      You may want to make a list of your findings and EAT MORE OF THAT STUFF.

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Melbel ~ I really appreciate your compliments. Thank you so much!

      Docmo ~ Thank you! I too believe that patients need to be well prepared to get the best possible treatment. And I'm thrilled to hear what you are teaching physicians. I personally feel that doctors do take a little more time with patients than they used to years ago. Thank you so much for your feedback.

      Hi MT ~ great to see you! I take a list to my doctor appointments. I've been doing it for years. It really makes a difference. You can concentrate on what is going on in the moment and not worry about thinking ahead because you may forget something. You just pull the list out. Thanks so much for stopping by!

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      Tips I need to learn to live by since I do spend quite a bit of time with my doctor. And I spend it there for a condition that isnt real well known - even in the medical field. I need to be my own advocate and I really should write things down more often. Congrats on HOTD =)

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 5 years ago from Texas

      Sharon - you have another great hub here1 Well worth Hub of the day! Congratulations on that, and for providing a wealth of information that should come in handy for so many!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the very useful and important advice to help people prepare for a doctor visit, Sharon. Congratulations on Hub of the Day, too!

    • urmilashukla23 profile image

      Urmila 5 years ago from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA

      Great Hub! Congratulations on Hub of the day!

    • Mommiegee profile image

      Mommiegee 5 years ago from Alabama

      Congratulations on making Hub of the Day!

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Congratulations for earning Hub of the Day for this important and well organized article. Your suggestions are excellent and can help ensure that patients get the most benefit from each contact with their doctor or health care provider.

      During the past few years my own doctor has incorporated computers into her practice and I am now given a visit summary which makes it easy to remember what was discussed and to keep the info in a personal file.

      Voted up across the board except for funny.

    • ammah profile image

      ammah 5 years ago from United States

      Great advice. Many people will benefit from this worthy hub.

    • nmdonders profile image

      Nira Perkins 5 years ago

      Great info. Congrats on Hub of the Day!

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 5 years ago from Illinois

      These are really useful tips. I think by bringing a list of questions or information the doctor visit will be so much more productive. Congratulations on Hub of the Day.

    • Hui (蕙) profile image

      Hui (蕙) 5 years ago

      Living in a hurry life, this is really important and helpful information for us!

    • KrystalD profile image

      Krystal 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Congrats on this hub of the day! It is excellent and very thorough!

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 5 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      You've done an excellent job with this hub. I especially like the note for the doctor's visit. It's a sure way to remember what I need to discuss with my doc.

      But, there've been times I've gone in knowing exactly what I needed to ask only to be rushed through by my doctor or distracted by something else.

      Thanks for sharing, and congrats on being awarded the HOTD. Voted Useful!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Congrats on getting HOTD for this fantastic article! Having a husband who is a doctor, I've heard stories about many of this aspects that you've covered. A lot of patients don't understand how much they need to put into an appointment to have a productive session and just assume that doctors can work wonders on anyone. Simple steps like bringing a list of your medications and writing notes ahead of time about your current medical concerns can make a huge difference. Thanks for the wonderful resource.

    • John Sarkis profile image

      John Sarkis 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      What an excellent hub this is. Additionally, being in the healthcare customer service field, I can see how complaints would greatly diminish if people would follow these rules; patients need to keep records of conversations, paperwork, and anything else discussed in an office visit.

      Voted up and congrats!


    • profile image

      ksinll 5 years ago

      Good hub! I think sometimes people can expect too much from those that are considered to be experts. It helps to remember that no one knows more about your body than you. I think the medical journal is a good idea, especially in the case that you have to change providers.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York


    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      This is an excellent Hub to remind us what to do when seeing a doctor. I keep a medical journal that is invaluable. I also make a list before I see him so I don't forget to ask something.

      Congrats on HOTD. I voted this Hub UP and will share.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Great ideas! Taking someone with you is a good idea, especially an older person who is forgetful and may not remember what the doctor said. Nice list, well laid-out hub. Congrats on HOTD! You go, girl!

    • ChaplinSpeaks profile image

      Sarah Johnson 5 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina

      I agree that the list of questions is key to being prepared and getting the most out of your doctor's visit - also for parents taking the kids to the doctor or children taking elderly parents to the doc. This is a very well organized and interesting hub about an important topic. Way to go for the Hub of the Day!

    • Karanda profile image

      Karen Wilton 5 years ago from Australia

      Excellent choice of topic Sharyn and yeah I truly appreciate the idea of a list to take with you to any appointment. We forget that these professionals are actually trained to help us but they need information from us, as a starting point. One tip, don't leave it too long between visits or the list can spill into next week and the next appointment!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 5 years ago from USA

      Congratulations on hub of the day. This is great advice for seeing a doctor - having a list not only helps in making sure that everything was discussed, but at the end of the visit, you can look at it again to make sure that all of your questions were answered and/or you received all your prescriptions and follow up information you needed.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Hi Sharyn - this is a very useful subject and will be a boon to many patients . Well written and highly effective. Thanks. As a Medic I do value a 'well prepared' patient but I as a medical teacher I also ask doctors to be patient, empathetic, seek clarification n and take a narrative history of not only the medical problem but also other factors that impact on care.

      voted up, of course! congrats on HOTD.

    • melbel profile image

      Melanie Shebel 5 years ago from Midwest USA

      Such an awesome hub! I can't believe I hadn't commented on it before. :P Totally awesome that it got HOTD, well deserved. :)

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hey B. ~ wow, that is really awful what your dentist did. Oh my gosh. I guess it goes to show that doctors, dentists, etc., are all human and make mistakes. That's why it's so important for the lists, having someone with you and all that to "double check" everything that is going on. Thank you so much for stopping by!


    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 5 years ago

      Sharyn, Good Timely Advice that we all can use. The List is a Great Idea, no matter what kind of a Doctor it is, even a Dentist. However, I did tell him, the "Crown" was removable, and guess what, he still DRILLED right through it on my next visit! Some professional's just Don't Listen!

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Nate ~ You are right, it is work to go to the doctor and to take care of your health. I really appreciate your feedback. Thank you,


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi tillsontitan ~ You are so right. It's frustrating when you think of something you wanted to ask the doctor after you've left the office. And yes, why are so many people afraid to talk to their doctor. Some of it has to do with embarrassment I'm sure, but still, we all need to be open and honest to get the best care. Thank you so much for your feedback.


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Donna ~ Absolutely! Take a list. It really helps you be able to concentrate on what is going on in the moment knowing that you have the list to refer back to. I appreciate your feedback. Thank you for stopping by.


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hey Kelly ~ I'm sure that is aggravating to your "family member doctor." Especially when you must have surgery, it's so important to have a medical history to work with. Really good points you made. Thanks for your feedback!


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hiya Susan ~ That's horrible that you had a doc who was offended because you asked a question. It really doesn't matter if it was about a method or directly towards him. That is frustrating! I am glad you are a "list maker" for your appointments, that's really important. And you mentioned about the second set of ears - yes, I agree that the person could also ask questions that you may not think of too. I'm going to add a sentence to that effect. Great feedback, thank you so much!


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Aw Paula, thank you so much!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      You're a GOOD daughter, Sharyn!

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Paula ~ My faithful commenter :) I'm so glad you appreciated this article. I agree that many people are reluctant to speak openly with the doctor. My dad is like that. I've finally gotten permission from him (HIPAA) to speak on his behalf. And now that he's older and I go to appointments with him, I make up a list and hand it to the nurse and my Dad never knows about it. Thanks always for your feedback!


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Kelley ~ Thank you for your great feedback. Being "prepared" for a doctor visit is really important. And I believe especially important for older persons like your mother-in-law. She's lucky to have you help her "prep" for an appointment. Thanks for the vote and share!


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Audra ~ It's normal to be nervous when going to the doctor. Many people are. Anyone who really feels that they may miss something that is being said should have someone else with them. I really appreciate your compliments. Thank you so much!


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hello kschimmel ~ it's great to meet you. You are right, it is so easy to leave the doctor's office without the answers you wanted to get. I'm sure it happens often to many people (who don't carry a list in with them). Thank you so much for your feedback!


    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi PP ~ great to see you :) Yeah, writing a list is really important. I have done it for years. I used to sneak a peak at it when the doc wasn't in the room. Heck, now I just pull it out and hand it to the doctor, ha. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback!


    • NateB11 profile image

      Nathan Bernardo 5 years ago from California, United States of America

      Good advice. It's work to go to the doctor and take care of your health, it is good to find ways to pinpoint problems and remember to talk to the doctor about them. And it's good to remember that the doctor is supposed to be helping us, not us to be catering to them.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      All good advice. How frustrating is it when you get in the car after your doctor's visit and think, "Oh, I should've asked him this?" So much on our minds we often forget the important things.

      Another issue with many people is that they are afraid of their doctors...what? Why would you go to someone you're afraid of? You are so right, the doctor works for us and we need to be able to talk to him.

      Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • donnah75 profile image

      Donna Hilbrandt 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      Great information here to remind us all of the small and necessary details of a doctor's visit. I never even thought of bringing a list, but it is such a good idea. I will do next time. I bet it will make a difference, since I always feel like I forgot something when my appointment is through. Thanks!

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      This is actually excellent advice - a family member is a doctor who works in a same day surgery center - he has to review health history with every patient. He gets so upset when he asks when the last time they went to the doc was and they say "I don't go to the doctor!". Ok the heck are they supposed to know how to operate for your emergency? People - could DIE because they don't know their own needs - if you want to live you've got to get check ups and have a health history for docs to work with:))

    • sholland10 profile image

      Susan Holland 5 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Sharyn, this is a great hub! You are right, the doctor works for us, not the other way around. I have had some arrogant doctors who have become offended by me questioning a method. I wasn't questioning the doctor, just not understanding the method being suggested.

      I am terrible about keeping a journal, but I am getting better about keeping a list of questions to ask. It is so helpful to write something down when it is fresh, rather than waiting and usually forgetting when I get to the office. And having that second pair of ears (and a person who knows you well enough to maybe insert a question you didn't think of) is the best idea when you are going in for something serious.

      Everyone needs to be aware of this information! Great Job! Votes and Shares!!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Oh Sharyn....great topic. I often want to take someone by the hand and accompany them to the Dr. It is sad and frustrating to me, how most people are hesitant and/or reluctant to speak openly and honestly with their Dr.

      Much more annoying is when I hear someone tell me that they asked their Dr. NO QUESTIONS!!

      I hope EVERYONE reads your hub!! UP+++

    • profile image

      kelleyward 5 years ago

      Sharyn, this is an important topic for a hub. So many patients do not understand that they are the customer when it comes to doctor's visits. I have to prep my mother-in-law so she can get the information she needs from her doctor. Voted up and shared! Kelley

    • profile image

      iamaudraleigh 5 years ago

      I need to use your advice here. I am always nervous going to the docs. Having someone close to you to go with you is a good idea. Writing down a journal of what's going on is good to! I am really impressed how you format your hubs too! Great job here!

    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 5 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      Excellent reminder to us all. Without a list, it is so easy to leave the doctor's office without getting the answers you needed.

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 5 years ago from Canada

      These are some good ideas, especially the one about writing a list before you go. Some doctors try to rush you through and I agree that it is very important to stand up for yourself. Good hub!

      Voted up and more!


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