Prepare to Get the Most Out of Your Doctor Visit
Prepare to Get the Most Out of Your Doctor Visit
When you hear, “The doctor will see you now,” be sure to make the most of every second.
During a routine “wellness” visit you are unlikely to get more than 15 minutes of face time with your physician—and often even less on a follow-up visit. Our 5-step program helps you prepare, maximize the value of your visit and leave with the facts you need.
1. Know Your Medical History
Bring a folder, key ring flash drive or smartphone app with immunization dates, past lab results, and health issues and treatments, allergies and drug reactions. Include a detailed family health history plus contact information for specialists you have seen. This way, you won’t waste valuable time repeating information, especially if this is your first appointment or you have already seen other physicians.
2. Be Prepared
List any medications and/or vitamin supplements you are taking, including over-the-counter allergy meds or pain relievers, or bring in the bottles or photos of them. Note any questions to ask, even if you feel fine.
3. Take Notes
During the visit, write down what your doctor says. In addition to any condition that is diagnosed or any medication prescribed, note your body mass index (BMI), weight, blood pressure and any other vitals.
4. Feel Free to Second-Guess
Don’t be afraid to question something your physician says, whether about the safety or side effects of a medication or the necessity for a procedure. Mention if a certain medication isn’t working. If your doctor is reluctant to run a test you want, ask for an explanation. Your health could depend on it.
5. Then Follow Through
If your doctor requests a second visit, prescribes diagnostic testing or refers you to a specialist, make an appointment immediately. Be sure you receive the results of all tests. Follow up even if you were told to assume that no news is good news. Paperwork sometimes falls through the cracks.
For more on making the most of your doctor appointments, visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website.
Talking to Your Doctor: How to Request a Test
When you visit your physician or other healthcare professional, go prepared. You may have heard about a new medical study, a new medication or a new laboratory test that might be right for you. If so, bring the information with you to your next appointment. Here are some tips to help facilitate the conversation with your doctor:
Start with the facts.
You may want to find out more information by searching on the Internet or finding information in a magazine or newspaper. To learn about tests and conditions you can use our Learn About Lab Tests tool (located in the left-hand column of most sections of our web site), visit our Patient Literature page, or visit trusted websites such as:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- National Institutes of Health
- American Cancer Society
- American Heart Association
- Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
- National Kidney Disease
Print out a copy of the page from the website or the article that describes your area of interest and bring it to your appointment. This way, your doctor or other healthcare provider can see exactly what caught your attention.
Phone your doctor or nurse’s office before your next exam to find out if a particular test is offered as part of a routine checkup. Find out if the test can be collected in the office or if you must go to a Sonora Quest Laboratories Patient Service Center to have it collected. In some instances, the doctor may ask you to get a test in advance so your results will be available at your office visit. Or he or she may want to investigate it further or talk with colleagues.
Once you have had testing, follow up on your test results. Due to a recent change in Arizona law, you can now get your test results directly from us. Learn about the options on obtaining your laboratory test results.
For more information, you can download the list of screening tests recommended for Women or Men by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Talking to Your Doctor About Prescription Drug Testing
Prescription pain-relief drugs require careful monitoring to ensure that they are used as intended.
For individuals who suffer from serious painful chronic medical conditions, opiates are often a viable treatment option. These powerful drugs aid in your therapy, but do require a doctor’s oversight. One of the tools he/she can use to monitor your treatment plan is periodic urine drug testing.
What this means to you
In addition to normal follow-up questions about your pain medication therapy during office visits, your doctor may also ask you to provide a urine sample for laboratory testing. These test results can assist your healthcare team to:
- Monitor your treatment plan
- Detect other nonprescribed medication that may interact with your prescriptions
- Make important decisions that guide your treatment plan
- Plan a safe and personalized care program
These results will be confidential and help your doctor design an optimal treatment plan.
Simple Prescription Drug Testing
- The purpose of periodic urine drug testing is to confirm that you are taking your prescribed medication
- Taking the test is fast and simply requires providing a urine specimen
- The test results will help your doctor to safely and effectively manage your treatment program
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