Taking an active role in your health care can help you get the best care possible from your doctor. One way to do this is to make sure you get the most out of every office visit. When you make your first appointment with a new General physician, there needs to be a kind of “onboarding” experience. A doctor has limited information about you, and it’s your responsibility to fill in the gaps. Given a little advance preparation, you can easily make the most of your visit. Here are 4 tips you can follow to help you and your doctor work together to improve your health care. Take a look.
Sharing Family Medical History
If this is your first visit to a new physician, gather any past medical records and family medical history to take with you. If you’re seeing other doctors, get the information they provide and bring it with you as well. Make it a point to mention if you’ve had parents or siblings with cancer, and whether or not any of your parents or grandparents have had a heart attack or stroke, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. Your doctor should know about any potential inherited symptoms and plan your treatment accordingly.
Take Note of All Symptoms
There is an important reason for every appointment with the doctor. You should be clear and detailed about any symptoms you’re currently experiencing. Be sure to tell the doctor about any current and past health care issues or concerns. It’s a good idea to keep a diary so you can chart your symptoms over time. Include details about the types of symptoms you are experiencing, when the symptoms began, and what makes them better or worse.
Ask If Your Healthcare Plan Covers The Treatment
Before making an appointment, call your doctor’s office and ask if they accept your type of coverage. You can also check your health plan website and its provider directory. You may have to ask for prior authorization from your health insurance provider before proceeding with the treatment. Should you fail to do so, you may be charged for things your health plan would have paid for. Most health plans give you the best deal when you see a doctor who has a contract with your health plan (also called an “in-network” provider).
Transparency In Communication
Always be honest with your doctor. Don’t be afraid to speak up during your appointment. It’s important to let your doctor know if you don’t understand something. Some patients may not like to divulge details about how much they drink, smoke, or skip taking their medication, but a doctor needs to know about these and other lifestyle matters to ensure you are receiving optimum care.
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