How to prepare for your appointment

There are some basic guidelines to assure effective office visits:
  • State your reasons for the visit clearly and up front.
  • Make a list of the questions you would like to have answered.
  • Try to estimate how much time will be needed to address questions with the doctor and  recognize that there is almost always a time crunch in a doctor's office.  Ask for additional time, if necessary, when making the appointment, and be prepared to pay for this extra time.  (You may want to ask your questions rather than have a physical examination during some of your appointments.)
  • Anticipate the information a physician may require and be prepared with answers for questions such as:
    • When did your symptoms begin?
    • How long have they been going on?
    • What do they feel like to you?
    • What treatment have you received for these symptoms?
    • What was your response to the treatment?

You should feel comfortable calling your physician’s office when symptoms occur that you do not understand. Some patients hesitate to call, feeling their symptoms may not warrant attention or that the doctor may be too busy.  This can result in problems.  For example, symptoms of an early urinary tract infection can be easily treated.  However, if you wait until the infection is severe, treatment is difficult and consequences can be severe.   A good doctor/patient partnership is critical and positive reinforcement can go a long way toward achieving that kind of relationship. Try to make the interactions with the doctor as personal as possible. Begin with a handshake, if appropriate, or warm greeting.  Give positive feedback on specific actions that were helpful to you.  The goal is to establish a partnership that involves understanding, mutual respect, and trust.  These same principles are applicable to other aspects of the health care system as well.

Resources

How to prepare for your appointment: printable sheet My Health Connection
A Direct, Secure, Time-saving Online Service for University of Colorado Patients My Health Connection is a special on-line resource to help UCH patients have a better understanding of their healthcare and foster a better relationship with their doctor. With My Health Connection, patients can request an appointment, renew a prescription, check lab results or communicate with their doctors online. Patients can sign in and access this resource anytime, from anywhere. Features of My Health Connection:
  • View online test results as soon as they become available
  • Receive a visit reminder via email two days before scheduled appointments
  • Manage preferences and services based on personal needs
  • Share valuable feedback by completing a patient satisfaction survey via email
  • Request an appointment in most clinics
  • Renew a prescription
  • Communicate with your physician in a safe environment
Patients can sign up at www.uch.edu/myhealthconnection/ or download the iPhone application on iTunes.