doctor showing a patient a document in their file

Making the Most of Your Doctor’s Visit

Considering the last year we have all had, the doctor's office is the last place anyone wants to be. However, because of the new vaccines, tests, and pushed-back wellness visits, it can seem like every waiting room is packed and the doctor is busy.

When this happens, it is not uncommon for patients to feel like they are being rushed back out the door after spending only a few minutes with their physician. This can be, understandably, stressful, frustrating, and have you considering whether you should be going to the doctor at all during this time.

Rest assured, there are ways that you can make the most of your doctor's visit and get your questions answered in this limited time. Here are three tips.

1. Be Direct But Respectful

You want your time and health respected, so feeling like you're being rushed can also make you feel frantic. If you have questions that you think are going unanswered, be direct with your physician - but be respectful about it.

Asking “I have a few questions; would you mind taking a couple of extra minutes?” is simple yet effective. It lets the doctor know your expectations of the visit upfront and reminds them to accommodate your session accordingly.

You may also feel the need to address that the appointment feels rushed. Instead of approaching it with frustration, keep it lighthearted and say something along the lines of “Packed house today?” or “It looks like you're in a hurry; I only have a few quick questions.” Both of these are easy ways of letting your doctor know that their attention seems to be elsewhere.

2. Understand Both Sides

Going to the doctor is just 15 to 30 minutes of your busy day, but your physician has likely been on the go for hours by the time your appointment rolls around. There needs to be a mutual understanding of each other's time and needs.

Remember that packed waiting room? Your appointment isn't the only one on the schedule, so while you may want your doctor's undivided attention, understand that there are a handful of other people wanting the same thing right across the hall.

Most doctors never intend to rush you out the door, as this can lead to diagnostic errors and other potential issues. Remember that this can simply be a byproduct of scheduling and has nothing to do with you personally.

3. Be Overly Prepared for Your Appointment

Being overly prepared for your appointment is one of the easiest ways to be more efficient with your doctor's visit. From the moment you schedule your appointment to when you are sitting in the waiting room, you can be thinking about what you would like to discuss in the potentially short time you have with the doctor. When preparing for the appointment, be ready with a list of:

  • Questions about your health and potential treatments.
  • Concerns that have arisen since your last appointment.
  • Medications that you take, even those over the counter, and their dosage/frequency you take them.
  • Family medical history.
  • Insurance information changes.

These things are especially crucial for visiting a new doctor because the new patient paperwork often includes this list. On the other hand, if this is the first time you've seen your primary care physician in over a year, a nurse may ask these questions at the start of your appointment.

Albuquerque Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Unfortunately, rushing through an appointment can come with some costly mistakes. Diagnostic and medication errors are often overlooked kinds of medical malpractice and may result from a physician not taking enough time to understand patient concerns. Know that you have every right to ask your doctor for more time to answer your questions.

If you've been injured as a result of your medical treatment, you may have a case. Call (505) 906-6774 to speak with the award-winning attorneys at James Wood Law.

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