How to Make the Most of Your Primary Care Appointment
A lot of people dodge their annual medical checkup for a variety of reasons – they’re too expensive, inconvenient, or anxiety-inducing. While those are all totally normal reactions, regular primary care visits are essential to keeping your health in check and catching potential issues before they become larger. Keep reading for tips to help you prepare and make the most out of a primary care visit.
Scheduling a primary care appointment
Sometimes simply getting an appointment on the books is the hardest part, but thanks to online schedulers and apps, scheduling is easy and low pressure. Online tools allow you to easily see all available appointments, pick what works best with your schedule, and which doctor you’d like to see. Of course, if you need a personal touch, you can always call your physician’s office and speak to someone directly to make an appointment.
At Premise, the My Premise Health app makes it easy to schedule an appointment online. If you’re looking for something more hands on, you can also call the health center directly or even stop in and talk to one of our friendly team members.
How to prepare for a primary care appointment
Bring your insurance card and any essential paperwork
Knock out any paperwork you can take care of ahead of time, including intake forms, insurance forms, and pre-appointment screenings, especially for a first visit with a new office.
Make a list of medications you currently take
Jot down a list of any prescriptions, over the counter medicine, or supplements you take. Bring in your medication bottles with you if needed and note any refills you might need to request at this appointment.
Review your medical history and family history
Your healthcare provider will ask about past surgeries, vaccines, allergies, and more, along with questions about conditions like diabetes, cancer, or mental health conditions that run in your family. Ahead of your appointment, review your files or ask family members about their histories.
List out any concerns or symptoms you want to discuss
Being in the exam room with your physician can make it easy to forget your concerns, especially if you’re nervous, so scribble down the basics like when symptoms started, what brings them on, how often, and how long they last.
Don’t worry about your prior medical records
With the use of electronic medical record systems, record sharing between providers is seamless and often requires no action on your part. At Premise, our partnership with Epic, one of the largest EMR systems, and membership in CareQuality allows our providers to easily obtain records. That means you can take this to-do off your list and rest assured that it will be handled before you show up to your primary care appointment.
Think about questions to ask
Your healthcare provider will always ask if you have questions, so have a few in mind like:
- What things are missing to help me stay healthy?
- What can I do to improve my health?
- Am I due for any immunizations or screenings?
Ask a loved one to come with you
If you’re especially nervous or need an extra set of ears, bringing a trusted loved one can be helpful for support and so they can catch things or ask questions you hadn’t considered.
Preparing for your primary care appointment
Refer to this quick list before your appointment to ensure everything goes smoothly:
What to expect at your primary care appointment
At an in-person annual health check, you can expect your Primary Care Provider will review the following:
- Medical and health history
- Current medications
- Vital Signs, blood pressure, and pulse
- Height and weight measurements
- Lab work and preventive health screenings
- Medication management
In addition to this baseline physical examination, your provider will ask about any concerns or symptoms you may be experiencing, so don’t be afraid to speak up. Your provider may recommend further evaluation and preventive health maintenance screenings based upon your age and health history
After your primary care visit
At the end of your appointment, ask your provider for a recap of next steps, referrals, or medication instructions and take down notes if necessary. Your provider should make you feel empowered and ensure all your questions are answered by the time you leave. At Premise, members will receive follow up notifications by email, text, or through the My Premise Health app with an after-visit summary and can securely message their provider if questions come up afterwards.
The most important thing to remember at your appointment is to always be open and honest with your primary care provider. Your health information is private and kept confidential, and your provider isn’t here to judge you. But they do need the full picture to work with other providers on your care team to help you reach your health goals and make the best decisions about your health.
At Premise, this confidential and personalized approach is central to the experience members have with our primary care providers. Unlike typical community physicians, our providers spend more one-on-one time with members making sure they are being heard. We’re working to break down barriers and make it easier for everyone to access regular, preventive primary care in person at our onsite or nearsite centers, or virtually through our Digital Wellness Center.
No matter how you access primary care with Premise, the experience is designed to be more personal, accessible, and integrated. Taking a next generation primary care approach, our providers quarterback a member’s care, helping them coordinate next steps and serve as their advocate as they navigate what is often a confusing system.
Want to bring high quality, personalized primary care to your members? Get in touch with us today to learn more.