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Now that millions of Americans have enrolled in healthcare insurance plans for the first time, patients may be concerned about how long they’ll wait to be seen at the doctor’s office. Make sure you get the most out of your visit to a medical provider by following these 10 tips.
See a PA. There are 100,000 physician assistants (PAs) out there who are anything but “assistants.” These medical providers are educated similarly to physicians. They can diagnose illnesses, treat patients and prescribe medications. PAs work in all medical settings and specialties, allowing patients greater access to care. Studies show that PAs help reduce wait times, so you can likely see one quickly, and patients say that they love and trust the PAs they see for care.
Keep your records up to date. When you see a medical provider, be sure to bring your most recent insurance card (and often they will want your photo ID as well), along with contact information for a friend or family member in case of emergency. And always make sure the office has the all-important payment and contact information in their system.
Know your history. Keep a list of any current health problems you might have, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. Bring along any relevant medical records if your medical provider doesn’t have them so that he or she can have a full understanding of your medical history.
List all your medications. It’s a good idea to keep a list of your current medications, along with the dosage and how often you take them. This includes over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, vitamins and other dietary supplements. There are many apps available for download to mobile devices that allow simple tracking of medical history, medications and dosages.
Know your symptoms. If you’ve had a serious illness recently, or have experienced recent changes in your health, be sure to note your symptoms or any changes in your symptoms, such as headaches, fever, chills, etc.
Always be honest. It’s important to tell your medical provider about everything that could affect your health, such as your diet, exercise habits and use of alcohol, tobacco or drugs.
Don’t feel embarrassed. PAs have heard and seen just about everything, and they are bound by confidentiality laws like physicians. It’s completely safe to discuss any health issues of a personal nature.
Take notes. You might want to keep a list of questions you want to ask your medical provider and write down any tips, suggestions, over-the-counter medications or prescription medications your PA recommends on your smartphone or a notepad.
Ask questions. As you wrap up your appointment with your medical provider, take a moment to clarify recommendations made and ask any questions regarding medications or anything else about your visit. You should know that PAs get high marks for the way they interact with patients, and 93 percent of those who have interacted with a PA say that PAs explain health or treatment matters in ways that are easily understandable.
Plan a follow-up appointment. If you need one, be sure to schedule your next appointment before you leave the office.
Make 2015 the best it can be by working with your healthcare provider on habits that will help you maintain health and wellness.