Family Doctor: Preparing Well for a Medical Appointment

An appointment with your family doctor can cause some concern. Asking the right questions to your doctor without forgetting anything is not always easy. Being well prepared can be relevant and beneficial for your own health.

Depending on the different health problems or certain medical conditions, important information must be communicated by the doctor to the patient, but also from the patient to his doctor. Preparing for a medical appointment is therefore very important. Given the work overload of most family physicians in Quebec, the consultation period can be relatively short. In order to derive the maximum benefit from this appointment and to better communicate with your doctor, here are some tips that can facilitate and improve the effectiveness of the consultation.

Prepare a written cheat sheet

Writing down all the questions and information related to the consultation is an excellent way to prepare for an appointment with your family doctor. Record on this checklist all the symptoms experienced, the time of their appearance, their frequency, etc. Also enter the date of all illnesses, operations and injuries, if any, as well as the age at the time of their appearance.

If the consultation is not with his family doctor, but with another health professional, also enter all the results of the last health checks: blood test, urine, x-ray, etc. The family doctor generally already has these results in his patient’s file. It is also necessary to remember to bring your health record or provide the doctor with the dates of vaccinations as well as the age at the time of their administration.

Finally, write on this checklist all the questions related to the reason(s) for the appointment. Do not hesitate to ask all these questions to the doctor. Even if the doctors have very limited availabilities, it is better to make sure to communicate well with your doctor during the appointment in order to avoid another appointment or additional calls. The idea is to optimize the effectiveness of this meeting with your doctor. In addition, physicians appreciate when patients prepare for encounters.

Prepare a list of medications

Bringing a recent list of your medications (your pharmacist can give it to you) is a must to be well prepared for a medical appointment. This list should include not only medications, but also vitamins, natural products and dietary supplements consumed.

Need help creating a checklist? It is possible to obtain an example of a checklist entitled “ My health, I take care of it ” produced by the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services. This checklist offers you some advice that will help you prepare for meetings with health professionals.

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