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Visiting the Doctor: A Checklist for Your Checkup

It would be a medical miracle if doctors could sit down with every patient, learning all about their personal and family medical histories, asking the sincere and relationship-building questions such as: What are you looking for in a doctor? Are you comfortable talking about your medical history? Why did you leave and/or never visit your last doctor? The truth: Patients are too plentiful, time is too tight and doctors must work efficiently, effectively and quickly.

So, unless you’re a part of the ultra-rich with personal on-call physicians (it’s nice to dream), you have to make the most of each doctor’s visit by being prepared, knowing what to expect and following-up like your health depends on it…because it does.

Before You Visit the Doctor
It's important to think about how you feel and make sure you can explain your main concerns prior to the visit. You should be able to describe your symptoms, including when you first experienced them. If you don't think you can talk about your symptoms or describe them well, write them down or bring a trusted friend or family member to help you express yourself and to provide support.

Here are few things you can expect your doctor to ask, be prepared for your appointment by being able to answer. You should:

  • Know the names of all the medications, herbal supplements and vitamins you're currently taking.
  • Be specific about your family’s medical history, including any history of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and/or other diseases.
  • Explain any past and/or present medical conditions, symptoms and or surgeries.
  • Give details about any recent emergency room visits – when, where, why and how you followed-up this visit with your regular health care provider, if at all. 
  • Share the names, addresses and phone numbers of past and present doctors.
  • Give the details of any allergies and/or allergic reactions you’ve had to medicines, vaccines, the environment, including asthma, eczema and etc.
  • Tell of any alcohol, tobacco and or non-medical drug use.
  • Provide your insurance information.
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Tracking down the past and present Dr information is always a challenge since I haven't gone in a while. Of course, the old ones are out of state and some are retired. But I will be scheduling a physical so hopefully I can track the information down.


This article is so helpful! I always feel flustered when I go to the doctor...they always seem like they are in such a rush, and it frustrates me when I try to ask questions and they don't want to answer. I needed a checklist like this, so thanks!

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Great tips, you should definitely be prepared when visiting your doctor to help make the process easier, and creating a list of questions in advance helps you think of some you won't necessary think of while sitting there. surety bail bond

it is definitely a relief when you know you can count on your individual health insurance to be there when your need it. like when going for your annual check up
I usually only go to the doctor when I have an issue. Do all health insurance plans cover a yearly checkup? I feel like mine doesn't. It would be nice to go to the doctor when nothing is wrong, instead of always going in feeling like crap, but some of us don't have that luxury!

Such great tips! I never know what to ask the doctor specifically, but this checklist is definitely helpful!