What information do I need to ask my doctor when making an appointment?

Expert Answers

PreparedPatient (Organization (Verified) ) - 05 / 20 / 2011

1.Office Contact information: Obtain phone and fax numbers, office hours, web address, e-mail policy, hours of operation.

2.Office Location: Get the address, locate public transportation, and learn about parking options including whether and how much you have to pay to park or if there is free parking (perhaps a parking ticket will need to be stamped by the doctor's office).

3.Making Appointments: What are the hours to call for appointments? Are there no-show policies? Can they provide estimates of waiting times (both for an appointment and when waiting to see the doctor after arriving)?

4.Medical record: Ask about any instructions for bringing a summary of your medical history, current health status and recent test results or if referral documentation is needed (especially important for specialists and testing).

5.Special needs: Inquire if and how the provider can accommodate any unique or special needs (such as physical navigation, hearing or visual impairments, translation services, etc.) and how to arrange for assistance if needed.

6.Payment: Inquire about the health insurance documentation and/or payment process required for receiving care. Get the contact information for staff administrator or the billing manager.

7.Tests and test results: Request a description of what types of tests are commonly conducted in the practice, by an external provider (with names and contact numbers for commonly used laboratories and radiology facilities), and the practice policy about patient notification of test results.

8.After-hours and emergency care: Inquire about when to seek, who to call and where to go for after-hours and emergency care.

9.Prescriptions: Obtain instructions for securing prescription refills, reporting adverse side effects and decisions to discontinue medication or change any agreed-upon treatment plans.

10.Care companion: Notify your physician group if you would like to bring a companion along with you to visits.

For more information check out the Prepared Patient 411
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