PHS Canada

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Prepare & Prioritize your Questions Prior to your Visit

  • Make a list and prioritize what you want to discuss
    • Be sure to start with what’s most important in case you don’t have time to get through everything on your list
  • If you don’t have time to get through everything, ask if you can follow up by email/phone

Send Records/Tests Ahead of Time

  • A specialist will want to see prior medical records and tests related to your health condition
  • Ask about the best way to forward your records to the doctor when you make the appointment. At times, a specialist in the same medical group, hospital or health care system will have computer access to medical records, but a specialist elsewhere may not
  • Check with the doctor’s office about this in advance

Ask A Family Member/Friend to Join You

  • If you are emotionally distressed, you may be unable to take in everything the doctor is saying
  • Your friend/family member can ask the doctor to clarify/repeat information or take notes

Take Information with You 

  • Bring contact information of doctors you are currently seeing
  • Bring a list of everything you take and the dosages, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medication, vitamins and supplements
    • Include medications you have tried that caused side effects/you didn’t respond to
    • If easier, bring everything with you/take clear photos with dosage info
  • Bring a symptom tracker with you (Provided to PHS Canada members)

Do your Homework Ahead of Time

  • Researching health information can benefit both you and your doctor by making you partners in care
  • Ensure you get your information from credible sources only
  • Ask your doctor to review the medical research with you so that you understand how it might be helpful to you

Keep your Doctor Up to Date

  • Let your doctor know what has happened in your life since your last visit
  • Let your doctor know if you have been treated by another healthcare practitioner
  • Mention any changes you have noticed in your appetite, weight, sleep or energy level
  • Let your doctor know about any recent changes in any medications you take or the effects they have had on you

Let your Guard Down

  • If you don’t tell your doctor, he/she will not know. You are your best advocate
  • Tell the doctor your whole health story and don’t leave anything out
  • Provide details
  • Discuss stress level, diet, exercise, sleep and mental health
  • A good doctor will never think less of you because of the conditions/symptoms you have. Being upfront will help you get the care you need and deserve