Switching Doctors? Here’s What To Bring On Your First Appointment

Switching doctors can be tough. A good, long-standing relationship with your primary care physician is vitally important in maintaining your health—he or she is your source of preventive care and your first line of defense against illness. Unfortunately, many people are required to switch doctors because of moving, doctors retiring, or work switching insurance carriers. To ensure that your transition is as seamless as possible, here's what you need to bring with you on your first appointment with your new doctor.

Complete Medical History

Before your first appointment, attempt to obtain as much of your medical history as possible. You'll need to call your old doctors and request your medical file—you can also request to have it sent to your new doctor. Remember that physicians won't share your medical records without your consent, so your new doctor has no way of obtaining them without you first seeking permission from your old medical providers.

Sometimes it can be difficult to track down your old doctors in order to obtain your medical records—doctors move, change practices, and retire. It's totally fine if this is the case. Simply write down as much as you remember about your medical history. This includes any injuries, illnesses, and surgeries you have had.

Medications You're Taking and Allergies You Have

Along with your medical history, you'll also need a current list of medications you're taking, along with their dosages. This includes both prescription medications and over-the-counter medications. If you take vitamins or supplements such as fish oil, put those on your list as well. A list of your medications is important information for your new doctor, as it allows him or her to avoid prescribing drugs that may cause harmful drug interactions.

Note that it's a good idea to have this list with you at all times and to update it regularly to keep it current. If you are ever in an accident and are taken to the emergency department, the medical staff can read your list and find out the medications you're taking and your allergies even if you aren't conscious. This lets them avoid triggering your allergies or causing harmful drug interactions.

Questions or Health Concerns for Your New Doctor

Write down a list of questions to ask your doctor—include everything that has happened since the last time you saw a doctor, even if it's not currently a problem. It's important to make a list and bring it with you to your appointment, as you may have trouble remembering during the appointment itself. Don't feel rushed for time during the appointment. Make sure that you ask your new doctor about any illnesses or pain you had in the time between your last doctor's visit and your current appointment. This lets your doctor know about any potential issues that don't appear in your medical records and helps to make sure you're healthy.

By informing your doctor about your complete medical history and your current health status with a list of prescriptions, allergies, and questions, you're being a great help. Your medical information allows your new doctor to better treat you, keep you in good health, and prevent future health problems. Come prepared for your first appointment with your new doctor to make the transition easy. Contact a medical facility like Hampstead Medical Center PC for additional information.