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Doctor Appointment Checklist

Here’s how to get the most time out of your doctor appointment.

1. Make a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday early morning appointment. There are plenty of valid reasons doctors fall behind schedule by the end of the day but no so in the early morning.

2. Wear loose clothing that permits immediate examination of the symptomatic body part. 99% of the time, a patient who needs a thigh examined wears tight jeans. Shorts, short sleeve shirts and sweat pants are all great options. Otherwise, you are asking for a hospital gown and a few less minutes with the doctor to change clothes.

3. Typed list of medications with dosages. Bring it. This tells doctors your medical conditions and whether or not any other medication can be prescribed.

4. Chief complaint. State which body part, what makes symptom worse, what makes symptom better, how long it has been bothering you, and whether it is getting better, worse or staying the same over time. Know these answers ahead of time.

5. Imaging study. If you had one, bring a copy of it on a disc. If you are getting one, ask for a free copy on disc. Do not assume your doctor has access to 30 different electronic medical record systems to access the imaging study. Bring it.

6. Don’t BTW. “By the way, I have this and that and this and that” is a sure way to get your main problem ignored. Stay focused on your main concern. If you have a second or third medical issue to address, tell the medical staff about all of them when you make the appointment. No ambushes please.

7. Spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends and neighbors – let the patient answer the questions. Speak only if spoken to. Doctors aren't there to treat you that day.

8. Bring your co-pay. If you say you forgot it, doctors don’t believe you because you never forget your money when you buy alcohol, cigarettes and gas. Show your doctor this bit of respect if you want it in return.

9. Bring a pen and paper. Write down the important conclusions being recommended.

10. Don’t mention Google or television ads. Your doctor trained at better places. This distracts time from addressing your problem.