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Health Tip: How Should I prepare for a Doctor’s appointment

Have you ever wondered if there are things you could do to make your visit to the hospital less stressful and more productive? In many countries there is an increasing shortage of doctors and health care workers. According to the World Bank, one doctors has to see thousands of patients in several countries.  This places a huge burden on health workers and patients too.

It is not unusual to see waiting rooms and receptions are filled with individuals who are concerned about the outcome of the doctor’s appointment. This may make you more anxious and less prepared to see the doctors. Without adequate preparation, you may leave the consulting room before you realize there a important health issues you should have brought up.

What then can you do to make your visit to the hospital more productive? Consider the following tips:

  • Do not assume that the doctor can determine what is wrong with little or no information from you. Doctors rely heavily on what you tell them along with physical examination and investigations. Therefore, do not hide any symptoms from your doctor. Admittedly, some symptoms such as those involving sexual activities or behaviour may be embarrassing. Nevertheless, know that without adequate history, the doctor may end up with the wrong diagnosis and offer inappropriate treatment. If you need to speak to the doctor alone, don’t hesitate to let him know. Privacy and confidentiality are your rights as a patient.
  • Prepare questions before the appointment. You may need to keep notes if possible. Anxiety may be associated with difficulty recalling events. Writing your questions and concerns down before the visit ensures you do not leave anything out.
  • Stay focused. Avoid off-topic discussions and meaningless small talk. Do not assume that the doctors is interested or available to listen to everything you have to say. For instance, when asked about your symptoms, do not start talking about how you found your way to the hospital. Focus on the questions asked and give succinct answers if possible. Seek clarifications if you do not understand the questions.

So, preparation is key to successful doctor’s appointment. If you are unduly anxious, you may ask a family member to accompany you. If you feel neglected or rushed during the visit, do not hesitate to let the doctors know. Timely feedback may sometimes change the outcome of the consultation.

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