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With a combination of staffing shortages and insurance companies’ requirements, the time allotted that you have with your healthcare providers for outpatient appointments is shrinking! Most primary care providers are expected to spend only 15 minutes with patients for many appointments. With such a tight schedule, a little bit of prior planning will go a long way!

Prior to your appointment:

  • Fill out any paperwork from your doctor and check for questionnaires on your patient health portal, if available, and fill those out 
  • Fill out my template for your patient information, or make sure that what they have is up-to-date and make note of any changes since your last visit 
  • Make a note of what you want to accomplish with the appointment, any questions or concerns you have, and any relevant information. I have created a template for reference.
  • Read about your condition([s) from legitimate medical sources so that you will already have a baseline understanding of it.

During your appointment: 

  • Take notes of what you discussed with your healthcare provider(s) 
    • For suggestions, click here
  • Bring someone with you that you trust to help you remember everything, especially if you weren’t able to take notes
  • Ask questions about anything you are unclear about 

After your appointment:

  • Put your notes in a safe and secure place 
    • I recommend making a note in your phone, tablet, or computer 
  • If requested by your provider(s), take notes of any changes in your condition(s) since your appointment and communicate them, if needed. 
  • Repeat the “Prior to your appointment” steps and the process again around the time you will return to your providers.

Your next appointment should go smoother and your medical team will appreciate the efficiency!

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