Dear Savvy Senior: Can you write a column educating patients on how to prepare for doctors appointments? I manage a number of small health clinics, and have found that patients - especially seniors - that come prepared when they visit our doctors are much more satisfied with the care they receive. Thanks for your help.
Dear Educator: You're right. Studies have shown that patients who help their doctors by providing important health information and preparing themselves for appointments tend to get better care than patients who don't. Here are some simple things we can all do to help maximize our next visit to the doctor. (Story continues below slideshow.)
Also consider taking some notes or ask the doctor if you can record the session for later review. If you don't understand what the doctor is telling you, ask him or her to explain it in simple terms so you can understand. And if you run out of time and don't get your questions answered, ask if you can follow up by phone or email, make another appointment, or seek help from the doctor's nurse.
Savvy tip: The National Institute on Aging offers a booklet called "Talking With Your Doctor: A Guide for Older People" that provides great information including a variety of questions to ask that can help you be a more informed patient. To get a free copy mailed to you, call 800-222-2225 or click here.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of "The Savvy Senior" book.
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