Five tips that can help save your life at your next doctor’s appointment

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“Do you have any questions for me?”

That is the question I ask my patients before leaving the exam room because way too often when one of my friends or family members leave their doctor’s appointment they don't have a clue what happened during the appointment. That has to be one of the worst feelings knowing that you spent 15-30 mins(I hope) with the doctor but to leave without really knowing what just happened. As a physician that is something I work on daily because I know that an informed patient is a health one. So here are a few things I think you should all ask your doctors the next time you visit them. Many of these questions may seem that it favors just your primary care doctors but I know that it would be beneficial just the same regardless of who you went to.

  1. How healthy am I?
    • I love this open ended type question because for many of us we have to inflated sense of invincibility so it is eye opening when your expert tells you that you are not as healthy as you think you are.  
  2. Is there anything I could be doing different in regards to my health?
    • This lets the doctor know that you are ready to take control in your own state of health, which we absolutely love because with all the new rules in healthcare these days personal responsibility seems to be lacking.
  3. Can you go over my medications?
    • Many patients see more than just one doctor and as much as I wish it were true we tend not to talk to each other very much. Very often your patients are taking medications that are prescribed from someone else that you don’t have a clue about. This is where most of the patients get in trouble because they are taking medications that interact with each other in a bad way.
  4. Am I up to date on all my screening exams/vaccinations?
    • I know that many of your primary care physicians are swamped with seeing 100 patients [exaggerating] a day so quite often you may be due for your general screening exams/immunizations and they might not realize it. I am all for keeping your doctors on their toes because remember it’s your health that is on the line so don’t worry about the doctor’s ego.
  5. What should I be doing until my next appointment?
    • Quite often during your appointment your doctor is rattling off at a list of things they want you to do before the next visit but most of the time you as the patient are still trying to wrap your head around something said in the beginning. I encourage you all to get a summary of what your doctor wants you to do before you leave the office. With the increase participation in electronic records many of these programs can give you an electronic copy so everyone knows whats going on.

At the end of the day remember that your healthy life is in the hands of these professionals that you pay money to see. Don’t leave another appointment without making sure you get the best out each interaction.

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