Appointment Preparation

Making the Most of Your Doctor Visit

If This Is Your First Appointment

For your appointment, please arrive about 20 minutes early to fill out paperwork. Come with questions for your doctor.

Also, bring a list of all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you are taking, including vitamins, minerals, and herbs – or bring the medications in their original bottles. Or, simply put the actual containers into a bag and bring them with you.

For All Appointments

Good communication with your doctor is important. But when you're not feeling well, it's sometimes hard to remember exactly what you want to ask or tell your doctor. Here are three steps to make the most of your doctor visit:

1. Write down your symptoms, complaints, and concerns. If you do this before you arrive at your doctor's office, you won't forget to mention important details.
2. Write down any questions you want to ask your doctor. Even if you plan to ask just one or two questions, writing them down may trigger a few more that you hadn't originally considered. Here are some good basic questions to ask:
  • What is my main problem?
  • What do I need to do?
  • Why is it important for me to do this?
3. Ask what the next steps are in your treatment plan. Your doctor may have told you that you need a laboratory test, or physical therapy, or a new medication. Asking about next steps can give you the "big picture" of your treatment plan over time.

Talking about your health concerns and asking questions is a way of partnering with your doctor and healthcare team to improve your health. Planning ahead for your visit will make the most of the time you have with your doctor or other healthcare professional.