How to get the most of your medical consultation

Visiting a doctor is not a pleasant experience for many. Even if you take an appointment, there is no guarantee that you will be able to meet the doctor at the specified time. Sometimes you even have to wait for hours if the doctor has to attend an emergency. Waiting and on top of that your ill health both creates an unpleasant feel for many. On the other hand, if you are lucky enough you can meet the doctor in the matter of a few minutes.

Once you get to meet the doctor, you want to get the most out of the consultation. But there are times when you forget some important points and later has to call the doctor to clarify the doubt. In order to avoid this, there are few things that you should consider

  • Prepare yourself: Before meeting the doctor, you should be well prepared. A well prepared patient is not only able to get the most from the consultation but is also able to make the doctors task easy. The doctor is able to provide a proper diagnosis if the patient is well prepared. Make sure that you carry all the important medical records. If you are referred by some other doctor, remember to carry the reference letter from that doctor as well. All points and questions that are to be discussed with the doctor should be clearly noted down. Also, remember to jot down all the important points mentioned by the doctor so that you do not have to enquire again. If you need any clarification regarding the medicine or mode of treatment, remember to ask the doctor then and there itself.
  • Explain all symptoms clearly: If you have more than one symptom, clearly note down the same in chronological order starting from the date the symptom first appeared. If there is any factor like food or climate that makes your symptom better or worse, remember to explain that as well. If you have undertaken any self medication or tried any over the counter drugs, inform the same to the doctor. If you have consulted any other doctor in relation to the same symptom, do not forget to mention that as well.
  • Ask questions: Once you have explained your symptom and the doctor reaches a conclusion, ask him clearly what his diagnosis is. Since you are the person suffering from the condition, you have all right to know about the doctor’s diagnosis. If you are unsure about the condition, you can ask the doctor to explain it clearly. Remember to get the complete medical name so that you can cross check it later on. If the diagnosis is something that is going to affect your future, ask the doctor to explain it. You can also ask him ways to prevent the reoccurrence of the disease.
  • Never lie: Lying before a doctor will cause only harm to you. Hence, remember to always tell the truth even if it is bitter truth. If you have not taken the medicine as specified by the doctor, make it clear to him. Otherwise, the doctor will reach the conclusion that he has done a wrong diagnosis.
  • Take your partner or friend along: It is always a good idea to take your partner or a close friend when you go in for consultation. Sometimes you may not clearly understand what the doctor explained, or you might forget to ask some relevant question. A partner or friend will be able to help you out in such situation. Not all doctors encourage having someone else in the room when the diagnosis is going on. Before selecting a doctor makes sure that he is comfortable having your friend or partner with you.
  • Show respect: Respect and pleasing manners can help a lot in building a good doctor-patient relationship. Ask all your doubts in a polite manner so that the doctor feels like explaining it to you. Never show aggressive or rude behavior or pretend that you know everything. This may not be liked by all doctors.
  • Keep the original report: If you are advised some tests or is referred by some other doctor, you will have some reports with you. Remember to keep the original report with you and hand over only the photocopy to the doctor. If you have not understood any of the condition mentioned in the report, remember to ask about the same.
  • Do not take caffeine: Checking the blood pressure is a part of doctor consultation. Avoid taking caffeinated drink like tea, coffee, and cola at least an hour before the doctor’s consultation as caffeine can alter your blood pressure. The same applies to smoking as well.
  • Dress appropriately: It is always advisable to wear an appropriate dress when you go for a doctor consultation. For, e.g., if you are going to meet a gynecologist, no need to wear a figure hugging jean. Similarly, if you think that the doctor might recommend a blood test, wear a short sleeve shirt/top.
  • Don’t empty the bladder: There are some situations in which the doctor recommend doing a urine sample test or a scan. If you feel that the doctor might recommend the same, or an ultrasound scan of your abdomen, make sure that you do not pass the urine.

 In addition to the above always follow the below points as well

  • Come at the right time of appointment. Never try to be late as it can annoy both the doctor and the hospital staff.
  • Never explain your diagnosis to the doctor. Not all doctors like the patient explaining to them what his disease is.
  • If you are allergic to any medication, explain to the doctor beforehand so that he can prescribe the correct medicine.

Getting the most out a medical consultation is crucial as getting an appointment with a specialist is not so easy. Following the above steps will ensure that you are able to convey your problems to the doctor within the time allotted to you without missing out on any important points.

Ala'a Alkhatib

The author Ala'a Alkhatib

Ala'a Alkhatib is a passionate digital content marketer based in Jordan who has previously worked in a variety of industries including software, transportation and aeronautics. She is currently helping people live healthier by integrating their doctors into their day to day schedule more efficiently. She is also a frequent user of Cura app having been known to use it to chat with doctors in all kinds of place - even while on the bus!

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