Quad Cities, IL/IA

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Advocate for Your Health


By Amanda Geffre

Tips on how you can improve your healthcare experience by preparing for exams and appointments.

Doctor appointments, medical exams, and laboratory tests are nerve-wracking. Whether you plan to meet with a new healthcare provider for the first time or you have a diagnostic imaging exam to complete, it is important to prepare and actively participate at your appointment to make sure you receive the best care possible.

Prepare for your appointment
A new provider will want to understand your medical history to help them assess your overall health and needs. Here are ways you can prepare for that appointment.

Collect and bring your medical records to your appointment. Providing your doctor with up-to-date medical records will help them complete your patient file. Even if you are only visiting for a wellness check-up, this information can help with a future diagnosis or understanding health patterns.

You can request your medical records from your previous doctor or healthcare facility. Many times, they will send your information directly to the facility and provider of your choice. At the Genesis Imaging Centers, we send mammogram results directly to a patient’s provider. Keep a list of any new procedures or tests since your last visit. This list should include the procedure, the date of the exam, and the doctor who performed the test.

Prepare a list of questions. Write down your questions and concerns to discuss with your provider. During the appointment, you may forget something that was troubling you a few days earlier. Use this list to guide your conversation with the doctor or nurse.

Contact your insurance company. Healthcare is one of the few industries where, many times, the patient is unaware of the cost of the exam before they get the bill. Call your major medical insurance company and ask questions about your coverage, which providers and health systems are in-network, and what expenses you may have for each appointment or exam. It is also important to share your latest insurance information with each health facility you visit.

During your appointment
Now is the time to express concerns and actively participate in the conversation with your healthcare provider.

Be honest about all your symptoms or concerns. Healthcare professionals can only help you if you are open and honest with them about your symptoms and questions. For example, your provider will not assume that because you have neck pain you are also experiencing headaches. It is important to tell them everything, so they can make an accurate diagnosis and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Listen and repeat. Your healthcare provider is going to share a lot of information with you. To make sure you understand what your doctor is saying, listen carefully and repeat their instructions or recommendations back to them for confirmation. Take notes to help you remember specific instructions after you leave your appointment.
Make sure you understand the next step. If your healthcare provider recommends follow-up appointments, lab work, or imaging exams, make sure you understand what you need to do. For example, if your doctor schedules a computed tomography (CT) exam, ask about the exam preparation and how results are shared with you. At the Genesis Imaging Centers, many of the exams require fasting, resting, or oral preparations prior to having an exam. If your provider is not sure of any special preparations, call the imaging facility directly and ask to speak with a nurse.

Discuss your recent exams or lab results at your appointment. You may have shared your medical records with your provider, but make sure you discuss any recent procedures or exams. If you have an imaging exam, it is helpful for the radiologists and technologists to know of any recent images or lab work. Radiology groups may request previous images to use for comparison when determining a diagnosis.

If you’re unsure of how to share those images, the staff at the Genesis Imaging Centers can help you. When you come to your appointment at the Genesis Imaging Centers, bring a list of the radiology exams you had done along with the name of the facility and the contact number. Our staff will work with other imaging centers and hospitals to get a hold of your images.

Advocating for your health is overwhelming; however, don’t forget that healthcare professionals are at every facility and practice ready to help you navigate through insurance, exams, and treatment. Take control of your health and feel empowered by your decisions!

Genesis Imaging Centers offers convenient imaging services in Davenport, Bettendorf and Moline. To schedule an appointment, call the scheduling department at 563-421-XRAY (9729) or 309-281-5000. If you have questions about the services the Genesis Imaging Centers offer, please contact Physician Liaison Amanda Geffre at 563-421-5632 or geffrea@genesishealth.com.