Do you ever leave your doctor’s visit recalling something you forgot to mention or can’t remember about the prescribed medication? If so, you’re not alone.
Make the most out of your next visit by creating a health journal – a place to store all of your health related information. Your personal health journal should include:
- Copies of minor children’s immunization records.
- Copies of health insurance cards.
- Copies of test results and other notes or letters from other doctors.
- Summary of all health related issues like surgeries, allergic reactions, stitches, hospital stays, and dental reaction.
- A list of all prescriptions, dose instructions, pharmacy name/number, and the name of the prescribing doctor.
- A list of all supplements and doses.
You may ask yourself, “Doesn’t my doctor already have this information on record?” yes; however, the information your doctor has may not be as current as the information in your journal. You can make the most of your next visit by reviewing your journal and updating your personal health information before the office visit. Dr. John Joseph II says, “If a patient will bring in a list of the medications that are currently being prescribed, this will save time and allow the doctor to spend more time discussing important health care items.”
If you’re ill, take notes on your symptoms: When did you start feeling this way? Did you have a fever? Record the date, time, and temperature. Dr. Joseph explains that vague statements like “things are different” or “I just can’t describe it” make it difficult to make a specific diagnosis.
Track your health between doctor visits and write your questions for the doctor in your health journal. This way you’ll be less likely to forget. You can also record your doctor’s responses to your questions.
Questions to consider for your doctor:
- What can I change in my diet or exercise that will help ease my symptoms?
- Are my current medications or supplements aggravating my symptoms?
A personal health journal may help you remember to discuss all issues with your doctor while you are in the office and make a great reference if you’ve forgotten your doctor’s instructions. Your health journal will aid you in making the most out of your next doctor visit.