Preparing for a Visit with Your Health Care Provider

Do you find that you make an appointment with your health care provider, only to forget half your questions once you’re in the exam room? Does your health care provider ask you questions during a visit that you can’t answer? Preparing for a health care provider visit can help you get the most out of your health care. Below are tips for helping you prepare for a visit to your doctor or other health care provider.

Health care provider handing bottle of pills to woman sitting on exam table.

What to Bring to Your Health Care Provider Visit

  • A list of your medications

  • A list of other health care providers you see

  • Information about your family history

  • A list of questions you have and anything you want to tell your health care provider

  • A family member or friend to help you

  • Copies of relevant records and tests from other hospitals or health care providers 

Gather Your Medical History

To do this:

  • Write down all the medications and supplements you take. Include the dose and number of times a day you take it. Or, if you wish, just put everything in a bag and take it with you.

  • Make a list of names of other health care providers you see for treatment.

  • Make a list of your medical conditions, past hospitalizations, surgeries, and allergies. 

  • Make a copy of all your medications, allergies, and surgeries for your health care provider to have on file. 

Gather Your Family History

On a piece of paper, write your name and the names of your brothers and sisters. Below that, write the names of your parents, aunts, and uncles. Below that, write the names of your grandparents. Next to each name, write the person’s date of birth and list any health problems you know about. If the person has died, note the date and cause of death.

Organize Your Thoughts

Make a list of what you want to tell your health care provider and questions you want to ask. Mention how you’ve been feeling since your last visit. Speak up about any changes you’ve noticed, new symptoms you have, or anything else the health care provider should know.

A Family Member or Friend Can Help

Ask a family member or friend to come with you to the health care provider. They can:

  • Drive you to and from your visit.

  • Make you feel comfortable and more confident.

  • Remind you what you planned to tell or ask.

  • Take notes.

  • Help you remember what the HCP says.

Health Care Providers

Health care providers (HCPs) give general medical care and guide patients through the medical system.

Health care providers can be doctors:

  • Family practice doctors

  • Internal medicine doctors

  • Obstetricians and gynecologists (for women)

HCPs can also be other trained medical professionals:

  • Physician’s assistant

  • Physical therapist

  • Nurse practitioner

  • Social worker

  • Speech therapist

  • Psychologist

  • Dietitian

  • Nurse

Online Medical Reviewer: Freeborn, Donna, PhD, CNM, FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 4/7/2014
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

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