Research shows 96.2 % of people forget to ask some of their questions in the presence of their doctor. Why? Because a patient is not adequately prepared prior to the visit. How can you be on top of your game before the visit?
You check in at the doctor’s front desk. The receptionist says something like this:
- “We are on a new computer program and we need you to complete an update of your information”.
- After taking the clipboard and pen you go back to your seat.
- You stare in horror at the multiple pages.
- You begin to SQUEEZE information into tiny, tiny spaces.
- Your blood pressure should not be taken at this time!
What if you were able to look at the forms and just fill in these simple words: “See Attached”!
- Medical history: See attached
- Illnesses: See Attached
- Surgeries: See Attached
- Prescriptions: See Attached
- Have you had . . . See Attached
Well, you CAN with what I am about to suggest.
NOTE: This is key information for your advocate to have when you are in the hospital to maintain consistency of care.
Prepare a list of personal information/medications/surgeries BEFORE you go to the doctor. Following are some examples you could use.
Medications and Medical History
Date of birth:
Health Care Providers:
Allergy or adverse reaction
Father: If living – health issues: ______________________________________________________________
If deceased – age______ Cause________________
Mother: If living – health issues: _____________________________________________________________
If deceased – Age ______ Cause ________________
Siblings: If living – health issues: ____________________________________________________________
If deceased – age ______ Cause _______________
The top 10 tips when you get a prescription (Rx)
1) Check the name of Rx.
Why? You sure don’t want to be taking a Rx that has been prescribed for someone else!
2) Check the Rx number.
Why? This serves as a reference in case of a future needs or questions.
3) Check the name of the Rx and the strength.
Why? You need to verify you are taking the correct dosage
4) Check the prescriber instructions. Example: time of day to be taken; is medication to be taken with or without food? Does it need special handling? (i.e., do not chew, do not crush, refrigerate, store at room temperature
Why? You need to be sure you are following the doctor’s instructions for your best care.
5) Does it show what condition the medication is treating?
Why? This is critical to be sure it is to treat your diagnosed ailment.
6) Who is the prescriber?
Why? This helps you know who to call if there is a discrepancy.
7) Is there a description of the drug – color, shape, imprints on pill such as numbers or letters?
Why? Should a prescription get mixed up, this helps to identify the Rx.
8) What are the side effects?
Why? Should you suffer any side effects; the emergency team will be able to administer proper first aid.
9) What are possible allergies, other drug interactions and precautions?
Why? Knowing these can assist with knowing what you should do and where to seek treatment if it’s required.
10) Check for special notes.
Why? This provides you with information you should seek answers to such as, “counsel with pharmacist” when it’s a new medication. It also provides you with helpful instructions or precautions.
Additional Health Information:
1) Do you smoke/drink? If so – how much?
Be truthful with your doctor. They will not judge you. The information HELPS them best diagnose and treat you.
2) Share sexual health, diet, type exercise and frequency.
Benefit of providing completed medical history:
My doctor’s nurse as well as my dentist’s assistant informed me by having the forms above completed saved them 30-40 minutes of data input time.
Note: Time IS important to the doctor, patient and medical staff.
Until next time, this concludes Part 3. In Part 4, we will talk about when the results of an exam are NOT good news and how to handle it.