Preparing for your doctor's visit
This is the first blog post I have done to this site and the first blog post I have ever done. In general, I avoid social media as I would the plague. However, this seems to be a reasonable way to relay information to my patients that I hope is helpful and makes the journey through the medical world a little easier. Most of this information will be useful whether you are coming to see me or any other physician. The below concerns the clinical aspects of your care.
Most practices don't send you the fill in the blanks encyclopedia that I do prior to your visit. However, someone in the office will collect similar information in person once you arrive. Please fill out this history and take it seriously. Obtaining a correct diagnosis and treatment plan requires not only current signs and symptoms but the context in which these symptoms manifest and the natural history of the illness. Your entire medical history is important to every physician caring for you. I recommend that all patients, and especially the elderly and/or patients with multiple and complicated diseases maintain what is called a personal health record. Take this health record to all your doctor visits. At each visit as changes are made in your treatment make sure both you and your doctor have a copy of the changes. By doing this, the doctor you are seeing and any other doctor you see will all literally be on the same page.
You can obtain personal health record apps for your various devices. You may utilize these or simply a notebook. Regardless of the format you use you will want to include the following information: 1. Demographic information about yourself, name, address, personal contact information, emergency contacts, hospital preferences, and insurance information; 2. List of doctors; 3.Allergies; 4. Surgeries; 5. Illnesses; 6. Medications;
7. Advance directives
I hope none of you ever have to go to the hospital, especially for an emergent and serious illness. However, if you do, make sure this list, including the advanced directives, goes with you to the hospital. You, your doctors and your loved ones will be thankful for your planning.
Outside of the above, just relax and be yourself. Your healthcare is a partnership between you and your doctor. Medical treatment is something that is done with you not to you.
Andrew Bishop, MD FAPA