Imagine you have an upcoming doctor’s appointment. You are seated, the doctor ask you to explain your physical complaints. Seven minutes later you are told you probably have this disease and 3 minutes after that you are sent out the door with a doctor’s prescription for a medicine with a weird name. You forgot to tell them some vital information that might have alerted the doctor to think about some other disease. On top of that you forgot what this medicine you are about to pick up is good for. I’ve seen many patients confused about their diagnosis and their treatment. Would you want to prevent this situation? Here are some tips:
- 1. Write down your main physical complaints in advance (bulletpoints should be fine). This could be either on a piece of paper or on your phone. A piece of paper might be preferable. You could hand the paper over to them and the doctor could scribble some explanation on the paper.
- 2. Write down your questions in advance.
- 3. Ask your doctor to summarise the diagnosis and the treatment. Make sure this is clear for you before you walk out of the doctor’s office! You could even ask the doctor to write it down for you on the paper you brought along.
If you manage to stick to these 3 simple rules, you’ll be more informed than most patients. I’ll be writing more about how to maximise the utility of your doctor’s visit in future blog posts, so stay tuned!