Archive for December, 2009

Bringing Calm to the Chaos of Your Doctor’s Visits

December 8th, 2009

Three things neatly intersected to compel me to write this blog post:

  1. Reading How Doctor’s Think by Jerome Groopman which I strongly urge every patient to read and then send copies to all your physicians to create the most productive healthcare partnerships.
  2. Time spent with the leadership of the American College of Physicians Foundation.  The ACP is a founding member of the Patient-Centered Medical Home initiative and is very thoughtful about how physician practices can better serve patient needs and improve outcomes.
  3. Preparing to be interviewed for the Chaos Solutions Blog Talk Radio show, my 1st foray into this medium.

Far from being a nerve-wracking event I believe that visits to the doctor’s office can be an empowering experience and an essential step to living the fullest, healthiest life possible.

My recommendations involve the 3 O’s – Observe, Organize, and Obtain.

  1. Observe yourself for at least a week (women perhaps a month or whole menstrual cycle) before your visit.
    • What are you eating and how is your body reacting?
    • How are you sleeping?
    • Do you get out of breathe going up the stairs?
    • Do you have swelling or other body changes?

These are all important to note and bring into the conversation with your doctor.

2.  Organize, Organize, Organize

  • Bring a list of all your medications, with names (brand and generic) dosages.  Include vitamins, supplements, and herbs.
  • Bring a list of all your doctors and complementary medicine specialists as well
  • Bring a full medical history (don’t rely on your memory for what year for which surgery and the results)
  • Bring a family medical history
  • Create a list of your key questions and concerns

3. Obtain

  • DO NOT LEAVE without instructions and prescriptions for any new medications
  • DO NOT LEAVE without test slips, referral forms, and directions ( fasting, other prep)
  • DO NOT LEAVE without a nurse or other number to call if you have questions

Become an engaged, empowered patient and make the most of your doctor’s visits!