Timeline of a Visit
When preparing for your medical visit, it is crucial to understand that there is a format to your "15-minute visit." There is a beginning, middle and end, all of which we as patients play a part in contributing to. The beginning is an opportunity for us to present My Patient Presentation - this is our prepared notes (write down before your visit!) with details of our main concern and a clear organized timeline of our symptoms. The middle part of the visit includes a dialogue between you and your Doctor where Doctor starts to put together the puzzle pieces to try and figure out what is really going - you may be expected to answer questions from your past medical history, family history or social history and lifestyle (this is often where we lie as patients - being truthful and forthcoming will only add to an accurate diagnosis and individualized plan of care). This is also the time where you can share things like your patient perspective (Say, "can I share with you what I think may be going on?") Physical exams may also occur at this time.
Finally, the interview rounds out with shared decision making in which your provider will likely share what they think is going on and what they recommend for next steps (plan of care). It is here where you can either agree (repeat back the plan to make sure you understand it!) ask clarifying questions or if you feel like you can't follow through on what they have recommended you can ask for other options. Work WITH your doctor to come up with a plan that you know you can follow through on.