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How to Get More From Your Next Doctor Visit

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How well you and your doctor talk to each other is one of the most important parts of staying healthy. A good patient – doctor relationship is a partnership. You and your doctor can work as a team to solve your medical problems and keep you healthy. But talking to your doctor isn’t always easy. Some topics may be hard to talk about or you may forget to ask questions. A basic plan can help you make the most of your appointment. By preparng questions or concerns in advance, you are more likely to have a satisfying visit with your doctor. The following tips will make it easier for you and your doctor to cover everything you need at your next visit.

Before the visit

Make a list of your concerns

  • Make a list of what you want to discuss.
  • If you have more than a few items, put them in order and ask about the most important ones first.

Take information with you

  • Make a list of all the prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and supplements you take.
  • Make sure you can see and hear as well as possible.
  • If you use glasses or hearing aids, remember to take them with you to your doctor’s visit.

At the visit

  • Go over your concerns and medications.
  • Ask your doctor about the concerns you wrote down on your list.
  • Go over all the medications you take so your doctor can make sure the combination of drugs won’t cause any dangerous side effects.
  • Share any symptoms.
  • Discuss any problems you are having even if your doctor doesn’t ask.
  • Explain any symptoms you have such as pain, fever, a lump or bump, unexplained weight loss or gain, or having a hard time sleeping.
  • Make sure to remember important information discussed at your visit by writing it down.
  • Ask questions. If you don’t understand something your doctor says, ask him or her to repeat it.
  • Let your doctor know if his or her instructions are unclear.

After the visit

  • Follow your doctor's advice. If you can't remember what to do, call your doctor's office and ask for clear instructions.
  • Tell your doctor if you feel worse.
  • If you feel worse, have additional problems, or have bad side effects from medications, call your doctor’s office and let them know.
  • Keep return visit appointments.
  • If you need to reschedule, remember to call your doctor's office at least 24 hours ahead of time.

How your plan helps

Your primary care physician (PCP) works with a team of specialists: As an HMO plan member, your PCP oversees your care. Part of your PCP’s responsibility is to collaborate with a team of specialists to help you get the care you need. Your PCP refers you to specialists within his/her referral circle who best meet your needs. Your PCP communicates with your specialist to make sure you receive the care that is right for you. Generally, you work with your PCP to receive your care.

Coverage for an annual physical: All HMO members are covered for a physical exam with their PCP each calendar year. Seeing your PCP for a physical each year is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy.

For details consult your Evidence Of Coverage (EOC). You can find the EOC booklets for our individual plans on the forms and documents page of our website.