Prep Questions before Doctor's Visit
Published by Contra Costa Times
Posted on Wed, Mar. 15, 2006
By William Walker, MD
DOES YOUR DOCTOR never seem to have the time to listen to all your concerns? When you get home after a doctor's visit, do you remember questions you meant to ask? Do you have trouble remembering all the things your doctor told you during the visit?
These things happen to most of us. Medical care is becoming more complicated, and doctors have less time to spend with patients these days. What's the answer?
One of my longtime patients, we'll call him Bob (not his real name), is especially organized, and a good example for all of us.
Bob comes to appointments armed with a list of questions, and a journal of significant medical problems and results that have occurred since his last visit. He also brings a pencil and paper to jot down significant findings during the visit, such as his blood pressure, lab results, and medication changes.
Bob knows how to make good use of our brief time together, and we can all learn from him.
Bring a list of questions, including those you forgot to ask or the doctor didn't have time to answer during your last visit.
Your doctor always pays most attention to your urgent problems, which is as it should be. But your questions are important, as is the preventative care you need to stay healthy. Don't lose sight of a valuable part of these visits with your doctor: your long-term health.
Walker practices family medicine at the Martinez Health Center, and is director of Contra Costa Health Services, the county's public health system. Healthy Outlook is written by the professional staff of Contra Costa Health Services, the county health department. Send questions to series coordinator Dr. David Pepper at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more health information, go to www.cchealth.org.