What to bring to your first visit
Documents: Bring your insurance card, all laboratory reports of blood and urine tests, as well as any special procedures such as thyroid or vitamin level blood tests and radiology reports (scans, sonograms, CTs). In addition, bring special instructions detailing diet or regulation of known diseases, high or low blood pressure, anemia or diabetes.
Medications: Write a list of all your medicines by name, dose and frequency. Or place your prescription bottles in a bag and bring them with you.
List of Current Doctors: Bring a list with your doctors’ names, their phone numbers and who does what for you. This will prevent unnecessary repetition of tests. Decide whom the doctor may talk to about your illness and treatment progress. New federal regulations protect your privacy. This means that unless you say so, your doctor is not allowed to give reports to anyone, not even your family and especially not your employer.
Family History: Be prepared to share your family history starting with your grandparents, writing down where they were born, age and cause of death, and instance of inherited diseases such as kidney disease, diabetes or deafness.
Medical History: Write your medical history. At what age did your disease begin? How was it first treated? Did you have a kidney biopsy? If so, when, where and what was found? Have you been evaluated by specialists? If so, who, when and what did they find and say? Have you been treated for a psychiatric disorder (depression, psychosis, suicide attempt)? Have you had a problem with alcohol or drugs? Do you follow food “fads” or struggle with your weight? Have you tested positive for HIV?
Or fill out a patient history form, if provided, prior to your first visit.
When you are talking with your doctor:
Please answer your doctor’s questions thoroughly. Your doctor will be better able to make a diagnosis and recommend treatment when you provide complete information.
Include everything important about your health. Something that you think might be serious may be easily treated. Discuss any changes in bodily functions, sleep, pain or fatigue. Ask direct questions that will help you better understand your diagnosis and treatment.
Some basic questions might include:
What is wrong with my health?
What is my diagnosis?
What medications are you prescribing and what are they for?
Do the medications have any side effects?
Are there other methods of treatment?
What are the risks that go along with treatment?
What should I expect during treatment?
Are there side effects to the treatment?
Do I have any physical restrictions?
These tips may seem simple. But fully understanding your condition and treatment is important to your health and well-being.