Patient Tips

The Martha Stewart Show, May 2008

These tips will help you make the most out of your next medical appointment.

Make a List
It's important to make a list of your questions or health concerns you would like addressed before your visit. Bring the list with you and record the answers during the visit or shortly after. Save the notes as reference.

Research
Do your own research to learn about your condition, explore treatment options, and even investigate the consequences of not treating. Use credible sources for your information such as the National Institute of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and medlineplus.gov.

Create a Medical Info Card
It's very important to create a card or document that lists your current medications, allergies, and significant medical history, such as past surgeries and chronic illnesses. Provide this medical information to every new provider and update as necessary.

Get a Second Opinion
When considering surgery, get a second professional opinion. Bring with you copies of blood work and/or medical reports relating to the diagnosis. If the two opinions are very different, get a third opinion. It is best to go into surgery feeling confident that you are pursuing the right course of action.

Enlist the Help of an Advocate
At provider visits, bring along an advocate as a second pair of ears. An advocate can be a family member or trusted friend who can help you recall and clarify the information. Choose someone who is a good communicator and will have your best interest in mind.

Resources
Special thanks to Johnson & Johnson registered nurse Kathy Fallon for sharing this information, and to Katherine Heigl for giving Katherine Heigl Collection scrubs to our studio audience.

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