Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What information should I bring with me to a doctor visit?
A. Bring your insurance cards, names and phone numbers of any other doctors you are currently seeing, the name of the pharmacy you use and your medical records if your doctor does not have them.

Q. What should I include in my plan before going to the doctor?
A. Plan a complete list of your symptoms, medications, habits, family history, previous health issues, any assistive devices you may use and life changes.

Q. What can I do to make the best use of my time with the doctor?
A. List your concerns and questions by importance and talk about the most important items first. Make sure to discuss what is bothering you, when the symptoms began, how often they occur and if they are getting better or worse.

Q. What should I mention when I describe a symptom to my doctor?
A. Describe what the symptom is, the degree of pain, etc, when it began, when it occurs, how long it lasts, how often you have it, and anything that makes it worse or better. Try to be as detailed and accurate as possible.

Q. What should I do if I do not fully understand something my doctor tells me?
A. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to talk with your doctor about things you do not fully understand. It is also helpful to repeat back to your doctor what you interpreted from the visit and next steps.

Q. What types of medications do I need to tell my doctor I am taking?
A. Tell your doctor about all the medications you take, even if you do not take them regularly. Include prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, herbal remedies or supplements and eye drops. Include how much you take and how often you take them.

Q. What kind of habits should I discuss with my doctor?
A. Tell your doctor about your eating habits, how you sleep, exercise level, daily activities, where you work, sexual activity, caffeine intake and if you smoke or drink alcohol.

Q. What kind of life changes should I discuss with my doctor?
A. Tell your doctor if something has happened in your life that has caused you stress or sadness. Examples include birth of a child, new job, divorce, death of a loved one, or changing where you live.

Q. After my doctor prescribes a medication for me, is there someone I can ask a question to regarding my medication other than my doctor?
A. Yes. You can always speak with your pharmacist. Your pharmacist can explain what the label on the bottle means and common side affects. It is also beneficial to get all your prescriptions from the same pharmacy so they have a complete record of what you are taking.

Q. What information should I find out before having a medical test?
A.Find out why you need it and what the test will determine about your health. Also find out what the cost will be and if your insurance company will cover it. Other important information to find out is what you need to do to prepare for the test, are their any dangers associated with the test, how long until you get the results.

Q. How is an appointment with a specialist different than a visit with my primary care doctor?
An appointment with a specialist may be shorter than an appointment with your primary care doctor. Usually, specialists already know your symptoms and medical test results. They can offer more in-depth information into your specific health issue. Often, a visit to a specialist requires a referral from you primary care physician.

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