By Thomas E. Vravick, M.D.
Today, most patients are more informed and actively involved in their medical care. Here are some tips to ensure you get the most out of your next medical visit:
• When you call for your appointment, tell us all the issues you need to discuss. This will allow us to schedule enough time to discuss the issues.
• Bring an updated list of the drugs you are currently taking, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements. Have questions written out so if you’re nervous, you can remember what you wanted to ask.
• The nurse should always tell you what is being given and what it’s for. If you don’t recognize a medication or have questions, please speak up.
• If you are given new prescriptions upon discharge, be sure to fill them right away and start taking your medications as directed. Having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy will help avoid adverse drug interactions.
• Understand your diagnosis. You should be clear on what the plan of care is for you. There may not always be a known diagnosis at the end of your appointment and more testing may be required. If you are not clear on what you are to do, please ask.
• The easiest way to prevent infection is to insist that everyone washes his or her hands before touching you. If you don’t see people doing that in front of you, politely ask if they have.
• If something you see bothers you or gives you a sense that something is not quite right, speak up.
• Do your part in caring for yourself as well. Follow the plan. If you’re having a problem with a new medication when you get home, don’t just stop the medicine, call or visit your health care provider to discuss the problem.
Following these tips will help you make the most out of your next medical appointment.
Thomas Vravick is a physician specializing in internal medicine with Aurora Advanced Healthcare in Port Washington. He can be reached at 262 284-3456.
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