Consultation Tips for Your Doctor's Visit
No matter how mild your symptoms may feel, you should always visit your doctor to get the best diagnosis and treatment. In a city as busy and compact as Hong Kong, your doctor’s visit is likely to be brief, and you will only have limited time to discuss your condition or ask for tips and instructions.
Having the right preparation before your consultation or appointment will ensure that you and your doctor can communicate important information about your condition with precision and avoid any missed or misunderstood subjects. Use the below tips and consultation guide provided by Pfizer Hong Kong to help the preparation of your next doctor’s visit.
Tip #1 for Your Doctor's Visit: Get Healthy Stay Healthy
It's about helping you make informed decisions and choices so you can manage your own health.1 It's about asking the right questions and finding the right answers, which you can then put into action. Like recognizing the signs of stroke, caring for an aging parent, trying to cope with a serious illness or just having good preparation for your next doctor's visit.2
Important questions you can ask at every visit are:
• What is my main problem?
• What do I need to do?
• Why is it important for me to do this?
• Why do I need this treatment?
• Are there any alternatives?
• What are the possible complications?
• What are the main side effects?
• Will this medicine interact with medicines that I'm already taking?3
Tip #2 for Your Doctor's Visit: Medication safety tips at the clinic
An important tip for your next doctor’s visit is to share information about your medical history and existing conditions. No one knows you better than yourself! - At your doctor’s visit, be sure to discuss:
Your medical history
No one knows you better than yourself! - At your doctor's visit, be sure to discuss your medical history:
• Any symptoms you may be experiencing - such as headaches or nausea
• Any medical conditions you've been diagnosed with - such as heart disease or arthritis
• Any surgical operations you have had4 - such as having your tonsils removed or a caesarean section (or “c-section”)
Medicines you take
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take. You need to mention:
• Medicines you take every day or just once in a while
• Your experiences and enquires on the medicines you are taking
• If any, side effects you are experiencing
• Nonprescription (or over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines - such as pain relief products
• Prescription medicines, including samples of any prescription medicines you may have received from your doctor
• Vitamins, supplements, and herbal or natural remedies5
Other important information
You are your best advocate! Be sure to share with your doctor if you:
• Use alcohol or cigarettes6
• Have allergies
• Are pregnant, breastfeeding, or are trying to have a baby
• Have trouble swallowing, seeing clearly, walking, or using your hands
- Committee on the Learning Health Care System in America; Institute of Medicine; Smith M, Saunders R, Stuckhardt L, et al., editors. Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2013 May 10. 7, Engaging Patients, Families, and Communities. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK207234/ . Accessed on May 2022.
- Questions To Ask Your Doctor. Content last reviewed September 2018. AHRQ--Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Advancing Excellence in Health Care. Available at: https://www.ahrq.gov/patients-consumers/patient-involvement/ask-your-doctor/index.html. Accessed on May 2022.
- The 10 Questions You Should Know. Content last reviewed September 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. Available at https://www.ahrq.gov/questions/10questions.html . Accessed on May 2022.
Talking with Your Doctor. How to Prepare for a Doctor's Appointment. Content reviewed: February 03, 2020. National Institute on Aging. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Available at: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/how-prepare-doctors-appointment . Accessed on May 2022.
- Your Medicine: Play It Safe (with pill card). Archive: Agency for Healthcare Research Quality. Available at: https://archive.ahrq.gov/consumer/safemeds/safemeds.htm#1Way. Accessed on May 2022.
- The NHS's role in the public's health A report from the NHS Future Forum. Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/216423/dh_132114.pdf . Accessed on May 2022.