вт, 10/08/2013

Preparing for a Medical Consultation

A couple of days ago I found the magazine of my health insurance in the mailbox. I like to flip through it, because there are always valuable tips and suggestions to stay healthy or things one should pay attention to. One of those things I stumbled upon is a checklist for a visit at the doctor's office.

Who does not know the situation of remembering a question after having left the office? Right! So better drawn up a questionnaire beforehand. Most of the question will have to do with the reason for the examination itself and most of those question will derive from a research in the web. Yes, we have warned of self-treatment earlier, but who does not look up what possibly can be wrong? Right, everybody who can. The point is not, not to get information, but not to treat oneself based on this information. The risk that everything will become even worse is to high. So, get some information before a consultation if you wish and discuss that with your doctor.

What else to prepare before going to a consultation?

  • The more precise one can describe the pain and complications, in what situation the pain alleviates or becomes worse and when and under what circumstances it all started, the better the diagnosis can be.
  • Make a list and bring it to the consultation which lists all drugs – prescribed and unprescribed – and all dietary supplement you take.
  • If you have lab results and reports of other physicians which have a relation to your ailment please bring them to the consultation.
  • And of course do not forget to make a list of all questions you have as discussed above. Please put the most important on top of the list. Do not underestimate this list. When sitting at home with enough time to think more and more precise questions will come up as when only thinking them up during the consultation.

What to observe during the consultation:

  • Write down the diagnosis, answers and suggested treatments.
  • Do you have the feeling that you have been thoroughly informed about the side-effects, risks, duration and outcome of the suggested treatment? If not, express your concerns or what you did not understand. There are no stupid questions. On the contrary! Just try it out, you will be surprised what you will learn by asking a 'stupid' question (I will tell you a secret: the most 'stupid' questions are the ones, that spark the most revealing answers).
  • To avoid misunderstandings, summarize what you understood. You can begin the sentence with: “Just to make sure, that I understood everything correctly ...”.
  • Ask for material to find more information as brochures or websites.
  • If time had run up but not all questions could be answers make a new appointment.