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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.

Comments (2)

Anonymous
May 12, 2008
This is a very good article Having been a patient several times in recent years, I had a problem drinking from a straw and some bottles of water. The water bottles that are short (about 5 inches tall) that weigh 8 ounces. Were the easiest to drink from without a straw. They are light weight and do not spill as easy as other containers.
Anonymous
May 8, 2008
Once again, this is extremely valuable information everyone needs to know before visiting a doctor. The nurses on your show today gave everyone fantastic information all families need to know. Thank you for caring.