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Office Visit Checklist

How to Get More Out of Your Doctor Visit

The more organized you are, the more you will get out of your doctor visit. Here are some ideas to help you get the most out of your time with your physician:

UCLA Health Santa Monica Bay Physicians.

  • Bring all of your medications with you at every visit. If you don't feel like bringing all of them to your appointment, we recommend writing down the names of the medication, the name of the doctor who prescribed the medication, the strength, and the dosing instructions. Include both prescription and any over the counter medications you are taking. Your doctor will want to review your medications and may make changes when he or she sees you at your visit. She will want to be sure that the recommendations made are based on accurate information about what medications you are currently taking.
  • If you are at the doctor's office to evaluate a new symptom, remember the doctor will probably ask you several questions about symptoms. Give some thought and maybe even write down the answers to these questions:

    • How long has it been going on?
    • Has it changed over time?
    • What makes it better?
    • What makes it worse?
    • What was it that made me worried enough to call the doctor?
    • What other symptoms have occurred?
    • Where is the location of the symptom?
    • Where does the symptom extend or radiate to?
  • If you are at the doctor's office for a follow-up visit give some thought to the following questions:

    • How did the symptoms change since my last visit?
    • How did the treatment work?
    • Were there any side effects of the treatment?
    • Do any symptoms continue on?
  • If you are going to a doctor for the first time either bring or arrange for a copy of your medical records to be sent to your new doctor.
  • If you are not fluent in English and your doctor does not speak your native language bring somebody who can translate for you.
  • If your insurance plan limits you to a panel of specific providers bring that information along so that your doctor can make referrals to the proper specialists if that becomes necessary.
  • Make your end-of-life wishes known to your family and your doctor by completing an Advance Directive (Durable Power of Attorney) for Health Care. The best time to make decisions about what you want to happen in case you can't make decisions for yourself is right now. All adults, regardless of age, should consider completing an Advance Directive.