4 Questions to ask your primary care doctor at your next visit
Your primary care provider (PCP) serves as a partner in your health and well being, ensuring that you stay healthy and manage any conditions as needed. As a partnership, your relationship with your PCP depends upon good communication to keep you healthy. While each visit may have a unique purpose, there are certain questions that are beneficial to ask your primary care doctor each time you see her or him. We’ve made a list of 5 questions to ask your primary care doctor at your next visit.
1. Are there any preventive care services I should look into?
Preventive care can keep patients healthy by targeting certain diseases and taking steps to prevent them. Doctors have knowledge about the current guidelines on testing and screening procedures as well as necessary vaccines. Some are age-based while others may rely on other factors.
Some people are familiar with more prominent preventive care measures, like breast cancer screening or screening for Type 2 diabetes; however, your doctor may be able to point out additional preventive care measures that are relevant. Ask your primary care doctor if she can make any recommendations based on findings from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which is an influential and independent panel of medical experts. This task force conducts extensive research to discover which preventive measures take priority for different genders and age groups.
2. What’s happening with my medications?
This can be a segue into a more specific conversation around your unique situation if you are currently prescribed medications. In some cases, it might be beneficial to ask your primary care doctor whether or not you need to continue certain medications, change medications, or lower your dosages. It can be helpful to bring a full list of all prescribed and over-the-counter medications you currently take. This may make it easier for your doctor to review and discuss alternative options with you.
It’s also important to understand why you are prescribed certain medications. It is a common reaction for patients to simply trust the doctor’s judgment when being prescribed medications; however, it is good to ask your primary care doctor for additional information. This opens the door to a productive conversation about treatment options.
3. How do I improve my health and well-being between now and the next time we meet?
While your health is in focus when you meet with your primary care doctor, it should remain top of mind between doctor visits, too. Consider asking your PCP about best practices for living a healthy lifestyle and improving overall well being. Depending on the comfort level of your doctor, they may be able to provide tips that they implement in their own lives or simply evidence-based recommendations.
Be as specific as possible and be sure to mention any goals you may have for yourself, such as quitting smoking, losing weight, or eating healthier. This can spur a helpful discussion with your PCP, who may be able to offer concrete advice to help you meet your goals.
4. When should my next appointment be?
Many people only visit their doctor when they are sick, but there are benefits to visiting your PCP on a routine basis, whether you’re ill or not. The other questions above outline some helpful conversations that can be had with your PCP at any point in time. It is good to stay on top of real or potential health issues, and visiting your PCP regularly means your doctor can advise on preventive care in a timely manner. It’s a good idea to ask your PCP how frequently she recommends you visit.
Seeing your doctor on an annual basis can be a good start in remaining proactive about your health. This can empower you to make the best decisions possible for your health and ensure that you are utilizing any preventive care services necessary to detect issues early.
Decent plans center on the doctor-patient relationship
Decent understands the importance of the doctor-patient relationship. In fact, it’s so important to us that we built all of our plans around Direct Primary Care (DPC). That means we help you foster your relationship with your doctor by making doctor visits free. You pay $0 each time you see your PCP—and you can ask your primary care doctor as many questions as you’d like!
Whether you prefer to see your PCP in-person or virtually, we have a plan that can meet your needs. No more whirlwind, long-wait visits. Meet with your doctor who understands your needs and who will take the time to explain things and guide you toward better health. This is what we call Decent healthcare. The best part? We now offer plans for small businesses to help owners and their employees save money! Get more information today.