Tips to Make the Most of Your Doctor’s Appointment
March 05, 2023
By George Gilbert, M.D., Solvera Health
We know your time is valuable and living your best life is important. That’s why I want to make sure every patient gets the most out of each appointment with their primary care provider (PCP).
Your PCP could be a physician (MD or DO), nurse practitioner (NP), physician assistant (PA-C) or other qualified medical professional. Below you’ll find three tips to help you prepare for your PCP visit:
1. Make a list of your medications: In order to make sure your medicines are meeting your needs and not causing side effects or dangerous interactions, it’s important to include the following information:
a. Medication name and daily dose
b. Reason you are taking the medicine (what condition it’s treating or preventing)
c. How many refills you have left (knowing these details ahead of time saves time during your appointment)
2. What’s new since your last visit? This helps us understand what your current needs are and includes:
a. Your most important health concern
b. Changes in your own physical and mental health
c. Changes in your family’s medical history (new cancer diagnosis for a family member, for example)
d. New circumstances in your life (different job, divorce, depression, etc.)
e. Information you’ve found online about your concerns (reputable sites such as WebMD and Mayo Clinic can sometimes be a good starting point for a discussion)
3. Think about your daily wellness plan. What do you want your life to look like, one day at a time?
a. Do you want to have more energy?
b. Are you recovering from a physical or mental health challenge?
c. Are you in the process of overcoming an addiction?
d. What are your health goals?
Daily Wellness Plan Details
Your everyday decisions and activities are a starting point for creating a daily wellness plan that helps you have the best health possible and enjoy your life to the fullest. The key to this daily wellness planning is self-awareness, which helps identify your symptom triggers, which can then clarify some of your medical vulnerabilities.
Although you can’t change your genetics or other factors, there are four issues within your control that can make a big difference in your health and wellness:
- Hydration and nutrition: Strive to drink healthy liquids throughout the day, eat whole vegetables, fruits and grains, and consume lean proteins.
- Exercise: Consider a goal of spending 30 minutes each day stretching and doing cardio activities (like walking briskly).
- Fellowship: Social relationships improve both your mental health and physical health, so it’s important to make time for friendships that bring you joy.
- Sleep and relaxation: In addition to relaxing with activities you enjoy, getting approximately 8 hours of quality sleep each night contributes to better health, concentration and energy.
If you’re one of the 50 million adults in the United States dealing with chronic pain, many of your PCP visits may be related to this very frustrating situation. I often share the American Chronic Pain Association’s list of “10 Steps from Patient to Person.” It provides good insights and suggestions that every person can use—even if you don’t have chronic pain.
I hope this brief overview helps you make the most of your primary care appointments. At Solvera Health, we believe that better health is a partnership between us and our patients. We are here to help you achieve your health and wellness goals.
Learn more about Dr. Gilbert and the comprehensive primary care provided by Solvera Health at www.SolveraHealth.com.
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