How to Think Like a Doctor

by Nia Zalamea

Preparing for a visit to the doctor is what I imagine prepping for a blind date might be like: how to tell them everything that matters to you in 10 minutes or less. Getting the most out of that small amount of time isn’t only important for you, it’s critical for the medical team as they try to help you!

  1. Prep the paperwork
    Do the paperwork ahead of time, make sure the office has your records, and share your pharmacy preferences.
  2. Refine your story
    Focus on how you felt, and try to make it concise and clear. Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts on what you think is going on!
  3. Clear up payment policies
    Before you go, make sure insurance covers your visit, and ask questions if there are any misunderstandings.
  4. Set an agenda
    Write down the top three things you need from the visit (such as refills, a work note, an answer, etc.).
  5. Bring a friend
    Bring someone you trust to help you formulate questions, be a good listener, and help share your story.
  6. Cultivate your relationship
    Work to cultivate the patient-doctor relationship and expect the same. Though a visit to the doctor may be short, the relationship is continual, longitudinal. Communication, understanding and trust are paramount. If at any time you and your doctor have challenges with good communication, either party should be able to recognize and address it.

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