How You Can Have Better Medical Appointments
With rare exceptions, nobody really likes going to the doctor. It’s usually a sign that something’s wrong with you, or if there isn’t, this is a chance they could discover something wrong with you. Accordingly, most people feel nervous, distracted, or even discouraged from making an appointment. And when they get to their appointment, they’re unable to get as much value out of it as they could.
Fortunately, with the help of a few strategies, you can greatly improve your medical appointments. That means feeling less stressed and anxious beforehand, getting better advice in your meetings, and walking away feeling more in control of your health.
Research Before You Make An Appointment
This should go without saying, but research your doctor before you make an appointment. It may be convenient to choose a doctor close to your location, but that isn’t necessarily the best choice for your health, comfort, or finances. Start by reviewing which doctors are in-network with your insurance company, so you can get the perks from your insurance, and ask around to see if you can get a recommendation.
From there, look at things like board certifications and online reviews; you’ll be able to analyze your professional’s work history and qualifications. If you see more than one red flag, it’s a good sign you should look for a different healthcare provider.
Make Your Appointment In Advance (And Avoid Peak Times)
You’ll have better luck with your appointment if you make it in advance, and plan ahead so you can avoid waiting times. Scheduling appointments proactively, as preliminary checks, is preferable to making appointments in response to ailments as they arise. You’ll stay in greater control of your health, and will have greater flexibility for appointment scheduling. Plus, you’ll have more opportunities to build a bond with your doctor. While you’re at it, try to avoid peak times for doctor’s appointments; for example, tons of people try to schedule checkups right before school starts, so scheduling yours at the same time could lead to more aggravating wait times.
Prepare With As Much Information As You Can
You can get more out of your appointment by coming prepared with as much information as you can find. Depending on what’s been bothering you, this could mean brushing up on your family medical history, or doing some preliminary research on your symptoms before you visit. The more you understand about your current health, the more involved you’ll able to be in your discussions with your doctor, and the better questions you’ll be able to ask.
Document Your Visit
We don’t like thinking about it or talking about it, but medical negligence is more common than you realize. Doctors are capable of providing bad advice, incorrect diagnoses, and erroneous treatments, and if you’re the victim of such negligence, you’ll want to hold those practitioners accountable. Accordingly, it’s a good idea to document your experience as proactively as possible. If and when you need to prove medical negligence, you’ll need to prove causation, and that requires you to have plenty of information on how you were treated, when you were treated, and what happened next. Write down or record every detail you can—just in case.
Occasionally, your doctor will ask you some questions you’re uncomfortable with, or questions that make you feel awkward. When they do, you’ll be tempted to giving an inaccurate answer to spare yourself some embarrassment, or make you seem like a better decision maker than you actually are.
While that approach can help you save face in the moment, it’s a bad long-term play. It’s vital that you’re upfront and honest with your doctor, providing them as many true details as necessary to figure out what’s wrong with you. Otherwise, your doctor will be forced to make a decision based on incomplete or untrue information—which can cause harm to you in the long run.
Ask Critical Questions
Finally, remember that your appointment isn’t just about sitting back and listening to what your doctor is telling you. It’s better if you’re an active part of the process, asking critical questions about terms you don’t understand, and inquiring about treatment methods that aren’t immediately disclosed to you. Come to your appointment with a handful of important questions written down, and be prepared to follow up with your doctor on anything they tell you that you don’t immediately understand.
It’s entirely within your power to have more effective medical appointments, with better information, more engagement, and a more pleasant overall experience. With just a few changes to your approach and a bit of proactive work, you can go into your appointments with more information and come out of them with more accurate, effective treatments.