Have you ever left the doctor’s office feeling like he or she gave you the boot? It could happen with general practitioners, or any specialist you’ve been waiting weeks to see. You know the feeling: you wait patiently, and when you finally get to talk to the physician, you feel like you’re not getting your time and money’s worth. How infuriating!
I mean, even the best doctors can appear to be in a rush sometimes, but you shouldn’t feel hurried to discuss your medical concerns! So, I’ve put together a list of tips to make your next medical appointment as pleasant (and productive) as possible.
Here Are a Few Pointers to Make the Best of Your Next Doctor’s Visit:
1. If They Talk Really Fast, Outpace Them
This recently happened to me and one of my besties. We’re both pregnant and share the same physician. Well, it so happens that our ob-gyn is one of the best doctors in our city, but her office has you rotate with other doctors so that you’re familiar with them (in case you give birth on a day your ob-gyn is not available).
One of the doctors always appears to be in a rush to leave; she talks so fast you wonder if she has to run to the bathroom – very annoying!
Luckily, I successfully dealt with it in the most unexpected manner: when I responded to her questions, I started to talk faster than she did. I guess this gave her a sign that she would not have to spend the entire morning with me, and it caused her to slow down.
I know this shouldn’t be this way; after all, it’s their duty to be attentive and listen to their patients carefully. But, let’s face it, they’re human, too. So sometimes, altering the pace of your speech might help them “break the loop” and pay closer attention.
Of course, if it doesn’t improve with time, give them the boot and change doctors! 🙂
2. Bring a Notepad With Your Concerns and Questions
To make the best of your time, it helps to bring any questions or concerns pre-written. That way, you make sure you go one-by-one and don’t miss anything. You can also take notes of whatever the physician recommends. This helps you stay organized and on point.
It helps, even more, to keep a small notebook for all of your medical appointments. This lets you keep track of your last conversation, and makes it easier to ask follow-up questions. This will impress even the best doctors, and you can be sure they’ll be more careful and listen to you more closely when they see you taking notes. It’s good both ways!
3. Bring Highlighted Copies of Your Prior Labs (or Prior Relevant Stuff)
In this day and age, pretty much everything is kept digitally stored. However, if you want to call your physician’s attention to a specific thing in one of your test results or lab work, make their life easier and bring a printed copy. This way, you make sure you’re both looking at the same thing, and your specific concern is addressed.
Highlighting the specific marker or result with a yellow highlighter is also very effective when you talk to a doctor. Sometimes, they’re dealing with many things and patients at a time and this might help you get all their attention and focus on you.
4. Appear Knowledgeable, but Don’t Challenge Their Expertise
We all know knowledge is power, and in the age of Google and WebMD, it’s easy and tempting to search for every ailment and research every hiccup. It’s great to be informed and it helps you ask smarter questions and make better decisions; just don’t get carried away and forget who it is that spent years studying the subject and has a degree in the field!
When I find myself crossing the line with my “medical research”, I jokingly say: “well, doctor, you know I self-diagnosed with ‘x’ thing that I found on Google, but you tell me”. They usually smile, and I look like I did my research but am not trying to be arrogant.
5. Dress Well and Don’t Show Your Toes
A pet peeve of mine, I know. But for some reason when you’re doing things like visiting the doctor’s office, shopping for expensive stuff, house hunting, or just meeting with a professional in whatever field, things go way better for you if you dress for the part.
I guess the logic is that if they dress professionally, you want to step up your game and look presentable, too. Showing all of your toes, no matter how hot it is outside or how pretty your sandals are, should not be part of the equation.
Also, as a practical matter, a doctor’s office is usually cold, and full of germs. So, why expose all of your toes like you would while wearing flip-flops?
6. Don’t Treat Them Like They’re Gods, So They Don’t Talk Down to You
What I mean is: be cool. Treat even the best doctors as if half your friends are physicians and you talk to them all the time. They’re not gods; they’re just highly educated people. Some doctors have spent so much time in medicine that it seems like all they know is just that: medicine. But some are well-rounded people, and if you appear interesting they will want to spend a few more minutes with you.
I once went to a well-known and respected physiatrist; on the day I went to see him he had a TV crew filming a documentary in his office! I remember I started the conversation by saying: “well, I have a terrible spasm because I just remodeled my home and took on the task of designing the kitchen myself. I am happy to say I am very pleased with the results, but my neck is a wreck.”
After he asked all the relevant questions and examined me, he wanted to see pictures of the kitchen because his wife was remodeling theirs. He was extremely polite, and even gave me additional tips on things to do to prevent another neck injury. He seemed to enjoy our conversation and went above and beyond in his advice and friendly tips. The doctor was so good I haven’t needed to go back! 🙂
7. It Also Helps if You’re Mildly Funny
You might say it’s not your job to entertain them, and you’re right! But in reality, people like to spend time around positive people that make them smile.
It costs you nothing and works in your favor when you’re polite, but also mildly funny. You’ll give them a mental break from the day! This goes a long way, especially if they’re having a bad day and are about to snap!
Next time you go to the doctor’s office (whether it’s your longtime family doctor or a new physician) try to put some of these tips into practice and see how it goes. I’ve found throughout the years that these little details go a long way, make doctors go the extra mile for you, and make you feel more confident with your overall experience.
That’s my take!
Do you have any tips to make the best out of a visit to the doctor’s office? When you talk to a doctor, how do you make sure you get your time and money’s worth?
I’m Lily, a lawyer and aspiring Miami entrepreneur sharing life hacks and my favorite tidbits on lifestyle, shopping, fashion, and beauty. GIF enthusiast and lover of making shareable lists.
Tom @ Dividends Diversify says
Lily, We are lucky and have been going to the same doctor for over 10 years. He was referred to us by a friend. Having someone you know and trust is key for us. Tom