On average, you may only see your doctor once a year, and it’s not uncommon to only get 10-20 minutes of their time when you do. Here are a few things to consider for your next visit that will help you stay on top of your health and get the most out of your time with your doctor.

Before you arrive
One of the best ways to communicate to your healthcare team is by asking questions. Whether you’re just in for a check-up or you’re not feeling right, asking a million (or a few smart) questions can help you make better decisions about your healthcare. So, prepare for your visit by thinking about what it is that you want to accomplish:

  • Are you looking to get or change your medication?
  • Do you need any medical tests?
  • Are there surgery or treatment options you’re looking to explore?
  • Are you simply there to talk about how you’re feeling?

Consider preparing an agenda for your appointment so you don’t forget to cover the things that are important to you!

During the appointment
Ask questions while you’re there! If you don’t, it will just lead to a phone call later. Save yourself the time and the effort by being present and speaking up at your appointment. There is likely nothing your doctor hasn’t heard before, so speak up and say what’s on your mind. If you aren’t sure what to talk to your doctor about, here are a few questions to consider:

  • Has my health changed since I saw you last?
  • Do I need to change my daily routine?
  • What are the pros and cons of my treatment options?

You should consider: what the prescription does and what it is used for, what the associated risks are, and what the interactions may be with any medications you are already taking.

When you get home
Take note of how you are feeling after the appointment. If you receive any new diagnoses or prescriptions, make sure you understand what’s involved and what it means for your long-term health.

Remember: being active during your doctor’s appointment is just one small part of staying active in your day-to-day health.