Hello world! This blog and future blogs here will be all about you – the patient. And it will be about your healthcare partners and caregivers. More importantly, I’ll provide ongoing tips, ideas, suggestions of what you can do to feel more confident, supported and in control at your doctor’s office. And you’ll leave your appointment informed and ready to follow your treatment plan. I’m going to share a “patient success path” and you’re going to be a better patient starting today. Whew! That’s a lot to promise. In the past ten years, I’ve helped 50,000 patients begin their healthcare journey and I’m sharing what I’ve learned right here. So stay tuned, check in often, make sure you’re following me and connected through email or social media. This is good stuff!
Let’s start with a very basic concept. At least 50% of your doctor appointment success will be determined by what you do before your office visit. That’s right. Before you open the door to the clinic. Here are 3 easy things you should do first.
- Always confirm your appointment 1-2 days ahead. You’d be surprised how often patients arrive at clinics on the wrong day or time. Imagine the frustration of arranging a ride, being away from work or getting mentally prepared for your appointment and finding out it’s on another day. These days there are many ways a doctor’s office will confirm your visit (phone call, text, email, letter), so if you haven’t received a confirmation notice, call the doctor’s office and confirm yourself.
- Make sure your medication list and insurance cards are updated and in your hands. Someone’s going to ask about your medications or insurance coverage at almost every appointment, so have both ready (have a printed version of your med list for the clinic to photocopy as well as a photo on your phone). Your treatment plan may be heavily influenced by the medications you’re taking, so be prepared!
- Write down 3 basic questions you want your doctor to answer during your appointment. This step is critical. Ever leave the doctor’s office and wish you’d remembered to ask an important question? How easy is it to call your doctor’s office after the appointment and get an answer? Not easy at all. So be ready with your questions – written down or in a place where you can write the answers – and you’ll leave the clinic feeling much more informed.
It’s tough enough getting to the doctor, but you need to maximize your appointment time – your face to face time – with your doctor. These three steps will set you up for patient success!