How To Be A Good Patient

We all want a good doctor to take care of us. But your doctor is only as good as you allow them to be. There are several steps you can take to help your doctor provide you with the best care.


Your appointment with your doctor has a time limit- usually a first visit is 20-30 minutes. Make the most of this time:


  1. State right away why you are there to see the doctor. I” have had pain in my right hip which has gotten worse over the last 2 weeks” is a better start than, “oh, it’s a long story doc. It all began 2 years ago when I fell while at my sister’s house when I was playing with her German Shepard…”

  2. Have a list written out of all your medicines. If you take 5 minutes to try to remember all your medicines that’s 5 minutes less the doctor can be asking you focused questions to get to the root of your problem.

  3. For that matter, if your past medical and surgical history is complicated, have it all written out in chronological order to help your doctor understand the sequence of events.

  4. If you have had laboratory tests or radiological tests done recently or in relation to your current problem bring these tests with you. It does no good to have a test done recently and not have it with you to show the doctor your results. Your insurance will not pay for you to have the test repeated and it is a waste of resources, time and money to do so.

  5. Be prepared to be examined. Do not wear complicated clothes or shoes that take ages to remove- the time you take to undress it time your doctor cannot spend with you. By the same token empty your bladder before you enter the doctors office. If you have to run out to the toilet in the middle of the exam, that’s less time for you with the doctor.

  6. Bring a friend to take notes or help you to ask all of your questions during your visit.

  7. Make a list of questions to ask the doctor and take notes during your visit.

  8. Ask the doctor how you will get your test results. Will the doctor or her nurse call you or email you the results? Is no news good news?

  9. Ask the doctor how to get in touch with her after the visit if you have any problems.

  10. If you do not understand the doctor’s instruction    state this before you leave the appointment and get clarification.


Finally, if you are not going to follow your doctor’s advice- let your doctor know this and why you are not getting the test done or taking the medicine, etc. 


And if you are choosing not to return to the doctor because you are dissatisfied with the care, let the doctor know!! How else will a doctor be educated and perhaps change how they are practicing.

July 23, 2020

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