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Preparing for your doctor's appointment

Some helpful information for patients and their families

Ask yourself: "What are the details of my appointment?"

  1. Who is my appointment with?
  2. What is the date of my appointment?
  3. What time do I need to be there?
  4. Where is my appointment?
  5. How do I get to the appointment? (directions, transportation, parking, assistance needed)

What to consider before your visit:

1. What is the main purpose of my appointment?

  • For example:
    • New symptoms that have not been diagnosed
    • Treatment of a newly diagnosed health condition
    • Follow-up of a known health condition
    • Preventive care (check-up, vaccinations, screening tests)

2. Am I having specific symptoms or concerns regarding my health that I would like addressed?

  • Can I describe my symptoms? (onset, severity, things that make them better or worse)
  • How are these symptoms affecting me?
  • Have they changed over time?

3. What do I need to bring with me?

  • My Health Card
  • All of my medications or at least an accurate list of my medications (this is very important for the doctor to know to avoid a medication error)
  • A list of any medications that I will need prescriptions for
  • Test results from another doctor or hospital
  • Actual x-ray images (on a CD) if not available to the doctor if he/she may require them
  • A relative or friend if I need help remembering what is discussed
  • My list of questions that I wish to have answered during the visit

Although it is not possible to address a long list of concerns in one visit, it is important for your doctor to know your concerns and questions.

He/she can then recommend scheduling other visits to address them appropriately.

Questions to ask your physician*:

  1. What are my main health conditions?
  2. What do I need to do?
  3. Why is it important for me to do this?
  4. When is my next appointment?

Make sure to check that all of your questions have been answered before you leave. Even if your doctor is busy, he/she has an obligation to ensure that your concerns have been addressed and that you understand the plan discussed.

*Based on AskMe3TM from the National Patient Safety Foundation. Visit the website for additional information and an informative video.

Questions to ask the office staff before you leave:

  • Who will arrange my next appointment(s)?
  • Who do I contact if I do not hear back? 
  • If this was a specialist visit, when will my family physician receive the doctor’s recommendations?