Doctor Visit Preparation
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
If you are like me you find doctor appointments to be stressful and sometimes confusing or overwhelming. I feel like there are two scenarios of how a doctor appointment can go. I am either overwhelmed with information or I am underwhelmed by the doctor’s willingness to explain or inform me on the situation at hand. Finding the right doctor for you is the key and I believe the only way to do that is to research the doctor, and the practice he/she belongs, to before setting up a visit. For most of you this process is also linked to your personal health insurance and the options of doctors in your area that coincide with your policy network. So my first suggestion would be research your options before setting up an appointment.
With that said there are some online resources that you could benefit from for researching your choices. We have BCBS and they provide a doctor finder for our in-network doctors. We are part of an HMO, which means that we have to have a primary care physician (PCP) and that physician provides us with a referral to see specialist. But the good thing about this is a woman may choose an OB-GYN as their PCP which allows them to skip the referral step when they need to see their OB-GYN. So, I went to the BCBS website and used their doctor finder to look for OB-GYN PCP’s in my area, and there weren’t any in-network. Ewww! So I expanded my search to a larger area around me and a few popped up. After I found my options I entered the doctors’ information into the www.healthgrades.com website search box. On the physicians page you can view things like; patient rating, experience, specialties, back ground information (malpractice suits, education/training, Board actions, etc.), hospital affiliation (and that hospitals grading), etc. From there you can rate your options and find one that seems right for you. Another good research tool is www.ratemds.com , it is very similar to the Health Grades website but gives you another set of information.
Once you have found a doctor you think might fit with you and your significant other, be sure to call to make an appointment ASAP. OB-GYN’s seem to fill appointments fast and you want to get in as soon as you can so that you can get your TTCing under way. Once your appointment is made it is now time to do more research. As couples with infertility, research becomes our lives. Before your appointment you want to make sure that you have a list of questions that you want to ask. Make sure to write your questions down on a note pad you can bring with you. Also make sure to leave space after each question on your note pad so you can write down the doctor’s answers as you go. I would also suggest to start a physical folder for all hand-outs, Rx print outs, and paper work from your doctor. The further along in your journey the more you will need it. For some lists of questions to ask your physician you can check out these websites; http://mayocl.in/1vRSLgs and http://bit.ly/1B0KtlD.
Another thing you might also want to consider in your preparation for a doctor appointment is that you will be asked questions about your health history and infertility history. The doctor is going to ask you some very personal questions and you should be prepared to answer them honestly. It is important not to keep anything from your doctor, as well as, you should not excaudate any symptoms. These question might include things like what medications (if any) you are taking or have taken in the past, personal questions about your sexual intercourse habits, your medical history, and things having to do with your past infertility journey.
The most important thing to remember when preparing for a visit is your doctor work for you. You or your insurance company pays them to perform a service. You should be sure to get your money’s worth. By that I mean, make sure you keep the doctor in your exam room as long as you need in order to ask as many question, and get as much information as you need. Don’t be afraid to take up some time. Do not leave your visit confused. If you do not understand anything that has been explained don’t be afraid to ask the doctor to repeat the information in another way. This is your time to get as much information as possible.
Well that is all for now. I hope that this post was helpful or encouraging in some way. If you have any questions or comments please leave those in the comment section down below. Be sure to follow this blog in the top left “Followers” section of the page. Until next time!