Monday, August 21, 2017

Preparing to Meet the Doctor

Making a list of important questions before seeing any doctor for
the first time or when you’re going to discuss a specific problem is
always a good idea. For some reason many people’s anxiety levels
shoot through the roof when visiting the doctor’s office, often
causing them to forget why they came in. Maybe the antiseptic
smell or the white lab coats do it, but something about the whole
environment can be frightening. Be prepared and make a list so
you don’t forget.

Everyone’s list will be a little different, but use the following basic
questions to get started:

Do you treat many patients with osteoporosis?
What kind of diagnostic tests do you usually conduct?
Will you call me when you get the results, or do I need a
follow-up appointment?
How can I reach you if I have questions?
Will my insurance pay for the tests to be done?
What is your background in treating osteoporosis? Have you
taken additional training to treat it?

You may not be comfortable asking the doctor questions, because
you were raised not to question the doctor. Don’t worry about
asking the doctor for clarification. Most doctors today are interested
in educating their patients and want you to ask questions about
anything that isn’t clear to you. So ask away! And if your doctor
doesn’t feel that way, she may not be the right doctor for you!
Before you even walk in the door, you can ask the office staff the
following questions:

What medical school did the physician attend?
Where did the physician receive her postgraduate training?
Is the physician board certified?
Does the physician’s office have its own bone density
equipment?
With what hospitals is the physician affiliated? Some insurance
companies have this data available on their Web sites.
The Web might list the medical schools of the physicians who
participate in their network, for example.

Getting ready for your
first appointment

Before you go for your first appointment, put together a manila
folder of “must have’s,” so you don’t forget anything. Make sure to
put the following items in the folder:
Your list of questions

Your medical records, including blood tests done within the
last two years and consultations with other physicians
The scans from your Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA
scan), a specific type of test that measures your bone mineral
density (see Chapter 9 for more on the DXA scan)
Any X-rays (the actual X-rays, not just the reports)

A list of drugs you’re taking for your osteoporosis, as well as a
list of all other medications and vitamins you take with
dosages, including any over-the-counter (OTC) medications
Chapter 8: Finding (and Paying For) a Doctor to Treat Osteoporosis 123
A list of all other health issues you have, because they may
affect your doctor’s recommendations
A list of your other doctors’ names and phone numbers just in
case your doctor wants to speak with them to coordinate
your care

Making sure you’ve found Dr. Right
Finding the right doctor isn’t always easy

 Even if the doctor you’re
seeing has the best reputation in town, he may not be right for
you if:

He makes you feel uncomfortable asking questions.

He doesn’t answer your questions to your satisfaction.

He doesn’t call you back within a reasonable time when you
have concerns.

You may need more than one visit to figure out whether your new
doctor is right for you. Your first visit may be awkward for a number
of reasons: you’re nervous, the doctor is having a bad day, the
office seems disorganized with long waiting times, or the front-desk
staff is unfriendly. Don’t let one bad experience scare you away, if
you feel comfortable with the doctor otherwise.

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