These days medical appointments tend to be hurried and leave both doctor and patient feeling a bit frustrated. Aside from overhauling the medical system as a whole, here are a few suggestions to help make the most of your time.
Come to your appointment with a clear sense of purpose. Bring a list of prioritized questions/comments. Trust your instincts and insist on care that you need.
Know Your Meds
Bring an updated list of all of your medications and supplements to each visit. List each one out with full name, dose, and date you started using it. Make sure all members of your healthcare team has a copy and discuss it with them. This is the best way to make sure you are on the least amount of pills possible for the shortest amount of time.
Don’t be afraid to ask the cost of procedures or medications and see if there are less expensive alternatives that would be as good. For meds and supplements ask if there is a higher dose that could be halved or a larger quantity that would be more cost effective.
Physicians are busy, but your time is just as important. By politely communicating your needs efficiently you will get more accomplished and your physician will be gratified to have addressed as many of your needs as possible.
Dr. Alethea Fleming, ND is a passionate advocate for naturopathic geriatric medicine. A 2007 Bastyr University graduate, she also earned a certificate in Gerontology from the University of Washington. Dr. Fleming is the owner and lead physician of the Vital Aging Clinic in Anacortes, Washington where she provides primary care to all adults as well as adjunctive geriatric care. Dr. Fleming is active in multiple community organizations as well as a member of WANP, AANP and OncANP. In her off hours, Dr. Fleming can be found hiking the beautiful trails of Fidalgo Island, spending time with her wonderful husband and son, or with her nose firmly in a good book.