Doctor's visit checklist

Part of being a good medical services consumer is to make efficient use of their services. I am a big fan of checklists and I store them for re-use in my Infoselect database. Here is my doctor’s visit checklist:

  1. have someone come with you to listen and take notes

How to describe symptoms:
do not diagnose–just give symptoms
give chronology:
when did symptoms start?
did they change over time?

  1. Make list of questions
  2. Take copy of medical records+other info such as medications taken
  3. Try to get copy of results of exams
  4. Get the prescription computer printout or ask for spelling of names of drugs

Questions to Ask When Your Doctor Orders Tests

Why is it important for me to have this test?
What will you learn from the test?
What will the procedure be like?
Will I need to be hospitalized for the test?
Can it be done on an outpatient basis instead?
How much will the test cost?
What are the risks in doing the test?
When will we get the results?
What decisions will I have to make if the test is positive?
What are the consequences if I do not have the test?

check board certification at

edited to show how this topic is relevant to this board.


This is an automatically-generated Wiki post for this new topic. Any member can edit this post and use it as a summary of the topic’s highlights.

Great post! I’ve found that doctors (surgeons in particular) really appreciate the list of questions. This shows that you’ve put some time and effort into researching the issue and probable procedures. Additionally, you’re not wasting their time rambling on as you try to digest the info they’ve provided.

It’s amazing what you don’t hear as you’re focusing on something else.


Alternative to that is simply to record the whole visit. If you’re in one of the “one party” states, you don’t even need to alert the doctor of the recording. If you’re in all party state, you’d need to obtain consent from the doctor first. But the recording can really help jog your memory of the visit and make sure you got all the information right. Especially important if the doctor answered your long list of questions. Optionally, send the recording to a transcription service if you want to have it all in writing for easier access.