Preparing for a Visit with Your Healthcare Provider

Do you make an appointment with your healthcare provider, but forget half your questions once you’re in the exam room? Does your healthcare provider ask you questions during a visit that you can’t answer? Preparing for a provider visit can help you get the most out of your healthcare. Below are some tips to help you get ready for a visit to your provider.

Woman talking to healthcare provider.

What to bring to your healthcare provider visit

Suggestions of what to bring include:

  • A list of your medicines. Include the doses and how often you take them. You can also bring all of your medicines in their original containers. Many times this makes it easier for you and more accurate for your provider. Be sure to bring nonprescription medicines such as aspirin, skin creams, eye drops, antacids, and vitamins. Include any diet or herbal supplements you are taking.

  • A list of other providers you see

  • Information about past health history, hospital stays, surgeries, and allergies

  • A list of questions you have and anything you want to tell your provider

  • A family member or friend to help you

  • Copies of records and tests from other hospitals or providers 

  • A pen and paper to take notes. You may also ask your provider if it is OK to record your visit.

Gather your family history

Write down your name and the names of your brothers and sisters. Below that, write the names of your parents, aunts, and uncles. Below that, write the names of your grandparents. Next to each name, write the person’s date of birth and list any health problems you know about. If the person has died, note the date and cause of death.

Organize your thoughts

Make a list of what you want to tell your provider. Include questions you want to ask. Order your questions so you make sure your most important concerns are addressed. Talk about how you’ve been feeling since your last visit. Talk about any changes you’ve noticed. And any new symptoms you have. Or anything else the provider should know.

A family member or friend can help

Ask a family member or friend to come with you to the healthcare provider. They can:

  • Drive you to and from your visit

  • Make you feel comfortable and more confident

  • Remind you what you planned to tell or ask

  • Take notes

  • Help you remember what the provider says

Healthcare providers

Healthcare providers give general medical care. They guide people through the medical system.

Providers can be:

  • Family doctors

  • Internal medicine doctors

  • Obstetricians and gynecologists (OB/GYN)

  • Specialists who focus on 1 part of the body or 1 type of procedure (such as surgeons and cardiologists) 

Providers can also be other trained medical professionals, such as:

  • Physician’s assistant or associate (PA)

  • Physical therapist (PT)

  • Nurse practitioner (NP)

  • Nurse (RN or LPN)

  • Certified nursing assistant (CNA)

  • Social worker

  • Speech therapist

  • Psychologist

  • Dietitian (RD)

Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Rajadurai Samnishanth
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2024
© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.