Most doctor's appointments are only 15 minutes long and it’s easy to leave feeling like you haven’t covered everything you wanted to. So how do make the most of the time you have?
Here are our top six tips for getting the most out of your GP visit:
1. Write down your symptoms
Before your appointment, take some time to write down all of your symptoms and how long you’ve had them. You may think you’ll remember them once you’re at your appointment but it’s so easy to forget things once you’re actually there. It’s also a good idea to remind your GP of any relevant medical history.
2. Write down any questions
Before your appointment, write down any questions you might have. It’s so easy to refer to a list once you’re there. Remember, there’s no such thing as a silly question. If you don’t understand something, ask for clarification. Health issues can sometimes be complicated and hard to understand so it’s completely normal to ask for something to be explained in a simple way.
3. Bring a friend/family member
Going to the doctor can be a bit nerve-wracking and overwhelming, especially if your appointment is regarding something you’re worried or embarrassed about. Having somebody there to support you can help you relax and feel more at ease.
4. Ask for a recap
At the end of your appointment, ask your GP for a summary of what’s been discussed. Repeat it back so you’re sure you’ve understood it properly. It’s often a good idea to get your GP to write down any relevant information, especially concerning medication just to be certain you’ve got it right. And remember to ask if there are any next steps that need to be taken.
5. Tell the truth
Sometimes it can be a bit embarrassing discussing things to do with your body or answering certain questions. But it’s really important that you tell the truth. Not telling the truth can actually be harmful as it can affect your diagnosis and care. If you lie or omit the truth, you’re only hurting yourself.
6. Ask your GP about patient portals
If you aren't already using a patient portal, ask your GP if their practice is offering the service. A patient portal is a convenient, secure online website where you can view your health record anytime and interact with your GP. Patient portals streamline communication between patient and GP, giving you more control over your own healthcare.