This is Part 3 of a series of three posts. If you haven’t already, we recommend you first read Part 1 about the best ways to prepare for your doctor visit and then Part 2 about the importance of communication during your appointment.
I’ve a grand memory for forgetting.” –Robert Louis Stevenson
Have you ever left a doctor’s appointment and realized you forgot something: either something you wanted to ask; or something the doctor told you? If so, you are not alone. We all have “a grand memory for forgetting” at times. Especially when the information is complex or has an emotional charge, like it often does when related to your health.
We understand this and want you to know that your care hasn’t ended just because your current appointment has. Whether you forgot something or simply have further concerns, there are steps you can take to get the very most out of your appointment, even after it is over.
Check in with the front desk
Just as you did before your appointment, it’s a good idea to check in with the front desk before you leave the office. It can be a good time to settle a copay or get any documentation your doctor has had printed for you. You can also confirm follow up appointments, prescriptions, referrals, or lab work. If you left the office without taking this step, you can always get in touch by phone later.
Learn about electronic resources
Technology has expanded your access to healthcare in ways unthinkable even 20 years ago. Find out before you leave the office, (or give us a call after) which electronic resources are available and the best way to get information: email, phone, or online access. Ask for your doctor’s information and preferred method of communication. The National Institutes of Health also recommends that you learn how to access your medical records. This way you can “keep track of test results, diagnoses, treatments plans, and medications and prepare for your next appointment.”
Ask a nurse or pharmacist
Often medical concerns and questions that come up after your appointment can be answered by our nursing staff or your local pharmacist. These are all highly trained individuals and important members of your health team. They are often quicker to reach and are good sources of information. Don’t forget about them.
Schedule a follow-up visit
If the previous recommendations aren’t enough to address your concerns, don’t be afraid to ask for another appointment. Despite our best communication efforts, we can all fall short at times, even without knowing it. Speak up if some aspect of your condition or care has left you scratching your head. Simply feeling like you needed more time with your doctor is also a good reason to schedule a follow-up.
Get a second opinion
Medicine is a huge arena full of professionals with a wide variety of training, experience, and bedside manner. This means that you are not always going to find the right doctor for you the first time you try. It is OK to seek out another opinion. Sometimes you need to see more than one doctor to find the right one for you.
Remember, we are in your corner. Our goal is to help you make the very most of each and every visit with us and get the best care possible. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call us, and we look forward to your next visit.