Many people get anxious when going to the doctor. Whether you’re completely healthy or have some health issues, your appointment is an investment in your health but it can still be a little scary. Visiting your doctor can help you address health concerns and create prevention strategies for common health issues. If you’re looking for ways to get the most out of your appointment, here’s how to do it.
Get the most out of it
During your appointment, you have a limited amount of face-to-face time with your doctor. Unfortunately, hospitals and clinics in your area may be short-staffed, and you could end up waiting months on a waitlist for a twenty-minute appointment. It’s necessary to prepare to avoid feeling rushed through your appointment.
Set an agenda for what you’re hoping to cover in your doctor’s appointment to help you make the most of the time you have. Make your list of concerns and order them by priority. Put your highest-priority discussions at the very top of your list to ensure they get addressed. Write down your questions and consider keeping a health journal so you don’t forget anything.
Get your health history ready
You may be making your health a priority this year and if this is your first appointment with a new doctor, you should have your health history ready. In your health history, it’s important to include any prescriptions you’re on, and past health issues you’ve experienced, such as high blood pressure, chronic yeast infections, joint pain, and more.
It’s also necessary to include any medical concerns in your family history. This can include heart diseases, cancers, or whatever illnesses have the potential to pass through genetics. Sharing your health history with a new doctor offers them important insights into your health. Your doctor can develop treatment plans and preventative strategies to address your health concerns.
Make a list of your health priorities
We mentioned before that coming up with an agenda for your doctor appointment can help you get the most out of the short window of time that you have. And because of the limited time you have with your doctor, it can be helpful to decide how high of a priority each concern is.
Consider what you want to address with your doctor face to face and what items you wouldn’t mind leaving for another appointment. You’ll want to ensure that you discuss important issues during the appointment first. For example, if you have back pain interfering with your quality of life, you’ll want to ensure you discuss them first thing. However, for less concerning things, such as the flu you had six months ago, you probably could get away with leaving it for another appointment.
And don’t worry if you forget something, you can typically ask a nurse to make a note of it in your chart or forward a message to your doctor.
Consider bringing someone with you
Going to the doctor is intimidating and anxiety-inducing for many people, and if this sounds like you, know that you’re not alone in your fears of doctors! While it’s normal for people to experience some anxiety when addressing health concerns, it’s up to you to do what you can to ease some of that anxiety.
If you feel apprehensive about your ability to advocate for yourself with your doctor, consider bringing a trusted friend or family member to your appointment to help ease some of your worries. If you have someone who knows about your health issues and concerns, they can help you discuss them with your doctor and help you process some of the information and treatment plans discussed during your appointment.
Be clear about your concerns
Not everyone is an open book when it comes to their body. If you think of yourself as very private, sharing your health history with anyone, even a doctor, can seem mortifying. However, you want to discuss your health openly and honestly with your doctor. Don’t spare any details to ensure your doctor has a clear and comprehensive picture of your health.
While it can seem embarrassing to tell your doctor the sometimes gross or private details regarding your body, know that there’s almost nothing that can scare away your doctor. Find comfort in the fact that doctors are trained to do this. Your doctor has likely seen it all and views any of your ‘embarrassing details’ from a purely professional perspective. So if there’s anyone you should feel comfortable sharing anything and everything with, it’s your doctor.
Ask all the questions
When it comes time for your appointment with your healthcare provider, you may be looking to get in and get out quickly. However, to make the most of your time and prioritize your health, ensure you ask any questions that come to mind. Prepare questions before the appointment and as they come up during your visit.
Your health appointment is for you, so it’s a great time to get all the information you want to help you maintain your health outside the doctor’s office. Depending on your doctor, they may give you information overload overwhelming you. Don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions or ask your doctor to repeat anything you may have missed. In addition, after receiving information, repeat it back to your doctor to ensure you’re on the same page.
Schedule your next visit
After your visit, it’s important to set up your next appointment. Even if you feel like you get all of the information you wanted out of your appointment, book one for the future. Doctors are busy and have lots of other patients and it may not be easy to get an appointment as soon as you need it. So immediately booking another appointment can ensure you see your doctor regularly. It can also help if you feel like your appointment got cut short or you couldn’t cover everything you wanted. This will give you another opportunity to get the rest of your questions answered.
Talking about your health concerns
Going to the doctor can be scary, but it’s made much easier when you go in with a plan. Get your health history and questions ready so that you can get the most out of your next doctor’s appointment.
Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a freelance writer who loves to share knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, wellness, and financial tips. During her free time, she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music.