Nobody likes to wait, especially when you have a scheduled appointment, however, sometimes it is unavoidable. When you have an appointment with your provider and have to wait to see him/her, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Unscheduled urgent or emergency situations happen and when they do, everyone’s schedule falls behind.
- Keep your appointments and be on time. Often the reason your provider is running behind schedule is because previous patients were late in arriving. Do your part be keeping your appointments and arriving on time. If you have to cancel an appointment, be sure to call as soon as you realize you have a conflict.
- If your situation requires more time with your provider, be sure to tell the office staff when you are scheduling your appointment. This will help the staff to better plan the day’s appointments and allow adequate time for your issues to be addressed.
Have you ever been waiting for your doctor and other patients were seen before you, but you were waiting longer? There are many reasons for this, such as:
- Some patients are only having lab work or other diagnostic work;
- Some have appointments with other providers in the same office;
- If you arrive early, others may have a scheduled appointment before yours;
- Others may need emergency care.
Try not to get upset or frustrated. Ask the office staff for an update if you have been waiting more than 15-20 minutes. Chances are, they can help you understand what is going on.
Your Office Visit
There are things you can do to help minimize your waiting time when you visit your provider.
Before going to the doctor, think about your questions and expectations so you can clearly state:
- Why you are there;
- How long you have had the symptoms, and;
- What, if anything, you have done to treat them at home;
- If you have sought care from another provider for this same problem. If so, try to bring these records with you.
Such information is extremely important in helping your doctor understand your health problem so he/she can make a proper diagnosis.
Full and open communication is the only way your doctor can make the best decision about your treatment. This may mean discussing personal information link drinking, using drugs, family problems or special behaviors and problems. Be prepared to talk about these sensitive topics. It is in your best interest to be open about these issues. Always let your provider know if you have received treatment from another medical provider.
Bring a list of all medications you are taking with you to each office visit.
Tell your provider about any past health problems which may be related to your current situation. Be sure you are thorough clear and accurate. Bring medical records, if possible.
What can I do to make my visit easier?
- Write down any questions or concerns you have and share them with your doctor;
- Take notes on what your doctor tells you about your diagnosis and treatment plan;
- Do not be afraid to ask questions.
What if I have a question after I leave the doctor’s office?
Chances are, you will. Write questions down and bring them with you to your next appointment, or call the doctor’s office and leave a message with the office staff.