Getting The Most Out Of Your Doctor's Visit: Tips From An Ocean Medical Center Expert

Contact:Donna Sellmann

Getting The Most Out Of Your Doctor's Visit: Tips From An Ocean Medical Center Expert

Of all the relationships you have in your lifetime, perhaps one of the most important is the one you have with your doctor. After all, you are entrusting your health - and sometimes your life - in their hands. The doctor-patient relationship is an important one, and the key to its success is good communication. According to Joseph T. Nitti, M.D., a board certified internal medicine physician at Ocean Medical Center who has been in practice for 26 years, "It's important to be on the same page so you make the most of the time with your doctor."

So what should you do to get the most out of your doctor's visit? Being prepared is one of the best things you can do to remain focused and make the visit more efficient so your doctor can give you more time and attention. First, be organized and concise. Be prepared to tell the doctor about symptoms or problems you are experiencing, how long they have been happening, and mention if they are better/worse when doing certain activities. Have a complete list of all the medications you are taking, including any herbal remedies or over-the-counter drugs. This includes medications or treatments that another physician or specialist may have prescribed or changed. Also think about what will happen at the visit, and wear loose fitting clothing to make a physical exam easier.

Finally, be realistic about what can be accomplished. If you made an appointment for one or two problems, then dedicate that visit to those issues. All problems can not be addressed in one visit, so if you have other concerns that arise, make a separate appointment for them. This way adequate time will be spent on your pressing health issue.

Dr. Nitti also suggests that you be open and honest with your doctor. Don't wait until the very end of your visit to say, "By the way." and then shares some pertinent piece of information. "Patients shouldn't be afraid to talk about physical, social, or emotional problems they are experiencing," says Dr. Nitti. "These could be significant and impact a physician's course of treatment."

Communication is important on many levels. Good communication leads to better compliance and better care. For some patients, it may be beneficial to bring someone with you to the visit. Memory or hearing issues can be a barrier to effective communication, and if a patient is dealing with a serious issue, emotions can distract you. Having someone there to take notes and ask additional questions can be very helpful.

The bottom line is that it takes a little bit of work to get the most out of your doctor's visit, but it is well worth it. Preparation and communication are essential. Combined with your personal efforts to practice preventative care and lead a healthy lifestyle, you'll be taking the right steps towards better health and wellness.

If you or a loved one is looking for a physician or specialist, Ocean Medical Center has over 530 experts who provide quality care, close to home. For a free physician referral, call 1-800-DOCTORS.

Ocean Medical Center, a member of the Meridian Health family, is a 281-bed non-profit community hospital located in Brick New Jersey, providing health care programs and services in all major medical disciplines, including maternity; oncology; orthopedics and rehabilitation; general, neurological, thoracic, and vascular surgery; cardiology; dialysis; and emergency and critical care services. The Medical Center features Magnet award winning nurses and is a proud affiliate of University of Pennsylvania Cancer Network. Ocean Medical Center also operates the state's first Satellite Emergency Department in Point Pleasant, called the Ocean Care Center. For more information, call the Meridian Health Line at 1-800-560-9990 or log on to our web site at