Five tips to get the most from your next doctor’s visit

Older lady in hospital with doctor and nurse

Summer and fall are the perfect time to schedule your next physical or medical appointment since doctor’s offices are often quieter than during the cold and flu-riddled cooler months. To make sure everything you need is covered, follow these tips from Health Canada:

  1. Be active and open. It’s important to be honest and upfront about your symptoms, no matter how insignificant or embarrassing they may seem.
  2. Keep a written record. It’s important to tell all health-care providers—including doctors, nurses, and physician’s assistants—about your medical history and how you are or were being treated for any conditions. They will want to know if you have any allergies to food, medication or other things. It’s helpful to keep a written list of your health conditions and medications that you can easily share.
  3. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to speak up during your appointment. Ask questions to make sure that you understand your condition, diagnosis, treatment and recovery. If you don’t ask questions, your health-care provider will think that you have understood everything that they have told you.
  4. Request resources. If you still don’t understand your health-care provider’s explanation, ask them to explain it in more detail, possibly using pictures or brochures. If the health-care provider isn’t available to help, you should be able to talk to an assistant or a nurse. If no one else is available, see if you can schedule another appointment to continue your talk.
  5. Report adverse reactions. It’s important to report any side effects to health products, including medical devices, medications and natural health products, to your health-care team and Health Canada, so that they can be addressed.