the Most of Your 15 Minutes
to the American Society of Internal Medicine, 70 percent of a correct
diagnosis depends solely on what the patient tells the provider.
Giving providers as much information as possible about your health
can help them make faster, more accurate decisions about your conditions
providers don't ask, tell them things about your disability they
should know. Give them relevant information about how your disability
affects your health care. If you prefer that certain information
not go beyond your provider, request that it not be written down.
Once information becomes a part of your medical records, it may
become available to insurance companies and others.
provider has limited time. Become an effective self-reporter. For
- Poor report:
" I have a pain that bothers me sometimes; what do you think it
report: "I get a stabbing pain on the left side of my right
knee when I walk fast. What do you think that means?"
your providers with one another is also important so they can easily
communicate with one another when necessary. Good communication
may help you get the best possible advice and treatment.
your 15 minutes
percent of all office visits last less than 15 minutes. How to get
the most out of yours:
- Provide good
- Ask for an
appointment when the provider is less likely to be rushed.
- Be clear
about your priorities and what you want to discuss by creating
a questions-and-concerns list, placing the most important topics
- Mail, fax
or email a copy of the questions-and-concerns list to the provider
before the visit or give a copy to the receptionist when you arrive.
your own records
and read your medical records to help you become a more involved
and informed health care consumer, more attentive to your health,
and more in control of your own care.
and facilities are permitted to and often charge you for copies
of your records. The cost can be well worth it. If you have had
long hospitalizations or are aware that your medical records could
fill volumes, then consider asking only for summaries.
complete and thorough records of your health history, the onset
of conditions and/or disability, surgeries, etc. in your medical
records file. Give copies to a new or potentially under-informed
provider, or present summaries of the following information when
visiting new providers:
on medications, including nutritional supplements, vitamins, herbs
and minerals. If you take medication that cannot be interrupted
without serious consequences, make sure this is stated clearly
and include: prescriptions, dosages, times taken when first prescribed
and how long you have been on the drug.
- Record of
tests and shots with results or reports; include dates
- Your personal
baseline for existing conditions, such as headaches, abdominal
pain, patterns for bowel and bladder function and the like. Track
you have organized your information, consider storing a copy with
a trusted friend or in a safe deposit box.
Long and Healthy Life: It's Your Choice