Organize Health Records to Get the Most From Your Medical Appointment

To receive the best medical outcome, you must remain actively involved in your own care. The medical appointment is a perfect opportunity for you to increase your involvement.Having a system in place to organize health records will be helpful in keeping you up-to-date and involved with all of your care plans. Use the following tips to ensure a much better health care encounter.Be Prepared for Doctor AppointmentsThe key to maximize the effectiveness of your medical appointment is to arrive prepared with all of your information. This is especially important when you are taking any medication. Take time to collect, organize and maintain an accurate list of all medication you are taking. Your list should include the names, dosage and frequency. A list of all supplements you take is also important.This information is especially helpful if you are seeing more than one physician. Many times, physicians may change or discontinue medication and not report this to other physicians that you see. Most people do not take the time for this important task. An empowered health care consumer will always organize health records to get the most from their medical appointments.Ask QuestionsMany patients fail to get the best from interactions with health care professionals because they are not prepared to ask the “right” questions when they go to appointments. Questions provide an opportunity to increase your understanding of the medical process, including plans for treatment and follow-up care.More effective information-gathering by patients and more conversation by patients with their physician during office visits, relates to better health status. The use of questions enhances the partnership with your physician. This simple intervention should decrease anxiety, increase feelings of control, and lead to greater satisfaction with your office visits.Take charge of your health care by asking questions. Build a list of questions at ahrq.gov/questionsaretheanswer/. Take these with you to your next medical appointment.Take NotesDid you know that patients forget up to 50% of what their medical team has told them after they leave the office? Be sure to take notes about what you talked about during your visit. It may also help to have a family member or friend with you who can assist with note taking. Remember, “The palest ink is better than the most retentive memory.” Confucius.