Tips From a Doctor: Get the Most Out of Your Visit
- by Dr. Gabriel Pardo, MD
- February 17, 2020
Dr. Pardo has been compensated by Teva Neuroscience, Inc.
We all want the best medical care possible. We want a physician who’s knowledgeable and who we can trust. We want them to be available when we have questions or problems and we want to feel like we can relate to each other. This is even more important when dealing with a chronic disease like multiple sclerosis as the relationship with the physician is going to last for a while. To some degree, it’s like finding a friend, or even a spouse. We want it to be long-lasting, comfortable, and rewarding.
A physician-patient relationship is centered on the patient; that’s you. After all, you visit your doctor to discuss your symptoms and disease progression, find answers, and set up a treatment plan. It’s the physician’s job to guide you through the process and provide knowledge and expertise. So, what do you need to do aside from showing up to your appointment? Here are some tips to make the most of your visit.
- Come prepared. Think about the topics you want to discuss ahead of time. These may include new symptoms, treatment questions, side effects you may be experiencing, recent test results, questions about new research findings, or what you can expect in the future. Here’s a trick: Write it down! Ideally, this list should include the most important items at the top. You should bring two copies to your appointment and share one with your physician at the beginning of your visit. At the end, make sure you have addressed all your points.
- Bring a health journal. If you’re seeing a physician for the very first time, make sure you bring your notes with you (or ensure your doctor has already received a copy) in addition to any laboratory or MRI results. If you write down all the MS-related symptoms you've experienced in a health journal you should include dates, duration, degree of resolution, and all treatments you’ve received. For ease, you can utilize Teva's injection tracking app to make personal notes and journal entries to share with your physician.
- Keep an updated medication list. Give the list with doses and how often you take them to a nurse so that it makes it into your chart. Your doctor might be reluctant to give you new medications to avoid interactions or duplication. However, this could result in a missed opportunity to take care of a problem that is bothering you.
- Understand the disease. The more you know about MS, the more effective you can be when advocating for yourself. You’ll be able to discuss issues with your physician in a way that facilitates communication and optimizes decision-making. Teva’s Shared Solutions® provides educational resources to empower patients with knowledge so you’re better equipped when chatting with your doctor.
- Maximize your time. You have to make it about you. This time is essential and you should cherish it. After all, you are your best advocate for your MS therapy.
Physicians are here to help and provide the best care possible. That’s why it’s so important to come prepared for each appointment. Share some of your appointment goals in the comments below or with the MS community on the Lift MS® Facebook page.
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Gabriel Pardo, MD
About The Author
Dr. Pardo is a board-certified neurologist. He received his medical degree from Nueva Granada Military University and has been in practice for over 20 years.
COPAXONE® (glatiramer acetate injection) is a prescription medicine that is used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), to include clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease, in adults.
Do not use COPAXONE® if you are allergic to glatiramer acetate or mannitol.