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How to Prepare for a Successful Doctor Visit

We all know that most doctors are quite busy, so how can we maximize the time we spend with our doctor to get the most out of the visit? It is all about preparation. Just as we would prepare for a business meeting or a presentation, we need to have a clear idea of what we hope to accomplish at each visit.

1. Have an Identified Goal for the Visit
For example, are you seeing the doctor because of a specific health concern? Come prepared to discuss that concern and be able to describe signs and symptoms that may be associated with it. Remember that there is usually a set time allotted for an appointment. If you have multiple health concerns, come prepared to prioritize which concerns you want to address first. Realize that it may take more than one appointment to address multiple issues.

2. Bring a Written List of Questions or Concerns
If you think you may forget something, write it down and bring the questions with you. Having a note pad with you also allows you to jot down information or directions the doctor may give you. Also bring the following if needed:
Thyroid Cancer Patients

  • All pathology reports for every surgery
  • All PET/CT Scans, iodine 123 or Iodine 131 Scans
  • Doses of every Iodine 131 ablation
  • All thyroglobulin levels—were you withdrawl or Thyrogen stimulated

Other Endocrine Diseases

  • Laboratory Results
  • Pathology (if applicable)-Surgical
  • Operative Report (if applicable)-Surgical
  • Nuclear Medical Studies
  • DXA Scan (data, not interpretation)
  • Image Reports (Pertinent MRI, CT, PET Scan, ultrasound)

3. You Know Your Body Best
No one knows your body better than you, and your doctor relies on you to provide him/her with an accurate description of any significant changes or symptoms that are occurring. Be concise and focus on what is pertinent to the visit.

4. Be Specific
Be specific and explicit when describing symptoms and concerns without rambling. For example: How often has a symptom occurred, at what time of day, and in what part of the body? Don’t be embarrassed to share details that may be important for the doctor to know such as changes in bowl movements, unusual odors, etc.

5. Bring a List of Current Medications and Supplements
Your doctor needs to know what medication and/or supplements you are taking. It’s always a good idea to bring a current list with you. Include the name of the medication or supplement, the dosage amount, and how frequently you are taking the medication.

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