Do you have any pains? How’s your mood? Your night life? Are you feeling unusually tired?

It will be prudent to add that a doctor is watching your face reactions while asking the questions. Studies show that 85 to 95 percent of diagnoses can be made by the medical history alone. Your doctor is also a good listener. It’s really amazing that a doctor accomplish a diagnosis in 10 to 15 minutes in most of the cases. God bless these angels to serve the humanity successively.

  • Be a good listener: Do not interrupt the doctor. Stay fully focused and maintain an eye contact during your confabulations. Rather, write important stuff lest you will be forgetting. Speak when the doctor ask for it.
  • Carry your medical records with you: Bring medical records from other physicians with you, including X-rays/ MRIs as applicable. If another physician has referred you, try to expedite the exchange of medical records. Very often, you must authorize the release of your records to the new physician. Not every doctor’s office will anticipate this or contact you beforehand to arrange for the transfer of records. Call ahead and ask how these arrangements should be made. The successful transfer of your records may help you avoid the expense and medical risk of repeat diagnostic tests.
  • Know what medications you’re taking: Bring all your medications- prescription, non-prescription, vitamins, herbs, minerals- in their original containers to your appointment. This way the doctor understands the medication dosage, frequency and their deadly side effects. If you take medications, in succession, keep an updated record of the names of the drugs, dosage and frequency. This helps your physician avoid potential drug interactions. It’s not uncommon for patients to be seen by several specialists, each of whom prescribes different medications. Also let the doctor know about medications you have tried that caused side effects or didn’t work.

The patients who frustrate the doctor most are the ones who say I take a little white pill or the triangular pill. They don’t know what their medications are or what they’re for. One question a doctor is going to ask is, “Do you have any allergies? You must know accurate answer about it.

  • While booking an appointment, if need be, ask for more time: Sometimes time restrictions decrease the amount of verbal reinforcement the doctor can offer. Ask for a little bit more time, at the time of booking appointment, so that all pointsare covered and necessary details are confabulated upon… Ask what kind of follow-up is needed. Be prepared to take notes, wherever warranted. A recent study revealed patients couldn’t remember more than two-thirds of the medical problems their doctor diagnosed following a general earn.
  • Do not feel embarrassed- your doctor has a trained eye and an enriched brain: Yes, he already knows most of the stuff. Your role is to provide the accurate information so that he does not treat you by guess and by gosh. If you do not feel comfortable or get emotional, then it is better to write on a piece of paper and hand it over at reception. This will go in your file and Doctor will read it immediately before the appointment.

Keep an open mind: The patients, who trouble, a doctor, are those who come in with a fixed idea about the treatment they should receive.“I have a stomach ache and I need an MRI,” is not a good line and your doctor may be ill at ease. A doctor normally educates patients about what the issue is and what and how it will be fixed. When the doctor is speaking, listen carefully with eye contact and write if you like.

Ask for all the copies of lab results from your doctor or you can print online: Doctors are always at ease to provide such vital information. Request the reception and they will print it for you after getting a nod from the physician. Keep an up to date file of your medical record in a folder, so that , God forbid, if need be that can be easily passed on to 911 Ambulance or Hospital. That helps a lot for your proper initial treatment.

Questions you should ask during a visit with your Doctor

  •  What is this problem possibly?
    • What can I expect from the natural course of this problem?
    • Is there treatment available to modify the course?
    • How long before I should see the side effects of the medication?
    • Under what circumstances should I notify the doctor again?
    • What is the prognosis?
    • Can I have a medical certificate to give it to my employer?

    Do not forget to re-check your medicine with the pharmacist: Repeated instances have happened that a pharmacist or his peers misread the hand written prescription of the doctor and an incorrect medication has been doled out to a patient. Prudent pharmacy staff does call a Doctor’s office to negate the iota of doubt. There are scores of cases,in courts,where incorrect medication was delivered. For example a lady suffering from Hypertension got the Depression medication , by mistake as doctors handwriting was not legible, and she kept on consuming it for 1 ½ year. This is the reason, why of late, your reverend doctor is writing a computer generated prescription Doctor is a very busy person. Scores of patients are waiting outside. He does not like a casual talk. I have seen at one place in a doctor’s exam room locally, a guideline reading as follows:

    A patient cannot discuss more than 2 problems during an appointment. If so seek another appointment.

    Conversely, I am incongruent with this thought process in the light of the fact that a patient has approx. 20 minutes. However, towards a solution- while booking an appointment- request for more time. The receptionist is trained by the doctor to accommodate you every time.

    Your physician needs your help without fail. If your expectation is that all you have to do is put in appearance for an appointment and the doctor will do the rest, your visit is likely to be a frustrating one, and you may put yourself at a risk for incorrect diagnosis. If you are in front of a Homeopath, come prepared to answer many questions.

    Remember, your doctor is also a human being. He does not have special scanners that he can pull out of his pockets to miraculously diagnose your problem. The doctor’s appointment is your opportunity to discuss your medical problems and immediate concerns. By preparing well for the appointment, you will be less likely to waste the opportunity, and more likely to gain a degree of satisfaction from the visit.

    To take proper cudgels, I always prepare, in writing- a list of questions to be asked or information to be provided to the Doctor- to avoid the risk of forgetting some important information at the time of reckoning. What about you?


Prof. Surinder
Shaun Kochhar
(A freelance writer w