Tips for getting the most out of your visit with your allergist
- Schedule the right amount of time - if you think you have a lot of things to cover, tell the front office scheduler this. This may make your desired appointment further out, but we can then make sure you get the appropriate amount of time.
- Plan ahead – sometimes it is difficult to get in to see your allergist on the specific day you need to. Making the appointment well ahead of time will help you get the day you want.
- Be flexible - if you cannot get in when you want to with your specific provider, either ask to be on a wait list (and be called if something opens up), or be flexible – make your visit with one of the other AAMG physicians, who may be able to see you sooner or on the day you want. All of our providers take excellent care of our patients in a similar fashion, with only some differences in style and personality.
- Let us know if you have to cancel - be aware of our office “no-show” policy, and do the best you can in calling us well-ahead of time to cancel your appointment. You can leave a phone message regarding this at any time and someone from our office will return your call during our normal business hours.
- Don’t forget to update your contact info – Please let us know if you have any changes to address, phone number, or insurance. We also would like to know if your primary care doctor’s information has changed. Keeping these changes up to date will allow us to contact you, bill, and send your consultation letter without delay. We appreciate your assistance with this.
- Know what you need from the visit – Think ahead of time and know before your provider walks in to the room to see you, as to what are the questions, needs, issues, etc that you want to discuss or address. Write these items down. Make sure each question is answered before you leave the room. If the visit is for your child, get them involved in this – find out from them what concerns or questions they may have.
- Don’t leave those forms at home– Remember to bring with you any papers or forms that need to be filled out, or any records that belong in your chart.
- Minimize distractions to your visit – To get the most out of your visit, we need your full attention. If possible, leave siblings at home who might get in the way of this. If they need to come, having another adult to watch them in the play room is helpful. Or, bring reading or play material to keep them busy and quiet during the visit. If needed, ask our nurses for the toys and books we have in our clinic to serve this purpose. And, finally, have those cell phones turned off when you are called back, and placed in to a room.
- Be specific about your symptoms – Avoid being vague about the symptoms that you want to get fixed. On our end, we will expect you to not only to be clear about what your symptoms are, but also their frequency (e.g. daily, 2 days out of the week), severity (e.g. bad enough to wake you up, keep you from exercising), time of day (e.g. worse in the night, worse in the day), and what kind of relief measures you are doing to help them. Make sure you let your provider know how the symptoms are affecting you or your child’s quality of life (missing school, work, sleep).
- If you are unable to attend your child’s appointment, please have the person bringing them in prepared. If this person doesn’t have legal custody (e.g. grandma, aunt, older sibling, friend), please make sure that person has a signed release granting us permission to treat the child. Also, be clear with them what questions and needs you have for the visit, so they are addressed, and answered. Write any questions down on paper and have them bring the list to the visit. This is the best way to go if you are unable to be there.
- Bring digital photos for rashes that come and go – Capture on camera rashes that come and go, and bring the images with you. As they say, a picture can be worth a thousand words!
- We saved the most important for last – medications: Come with a list of the medications you are taking! You can create this list by just writing them down on paper the old fashioned way, or, creating a Word document on your computer which has them listed. Print this list, and bring it with you. A bonus of having your medications in a document at home on the computer allows you to update it periodically, when your medications change, which always happens. Alternatively, put all your meds (pill bottles, inhalers) in to a bag, and bring to the office. Or, you can do both the bag and the list approach. In making your medication list, make sure it includes:
- Name of medication (brand and generic name)
- Strength of the medication
- How many refills are left on it
- Whether it is expiring, and when
- Whether the medication is being taken regularly (e.g. daily), or as needed. If regularly, specify how many times it is being taken.
When you make the med list, or report your medications directly to the nurse or provider, let us know which you are taking regularly,(your routine medications), how consistent you are in doing it on a daily basis. That is, if you are remembering to do it half-the-time, tell us that. Don’t just tell us what you are supposed to be doing, but also, what in fact you are doing. We understand no one is 100% perfect with taking their medications, but we need to know how often you are forgetting.
Bring in any “gadgets” (e.g. spacers, peak flow meters, nebulizers) that you want us to check out, for us to see if you are using them properly, or, to inspect them to be sure they are working correctly.
Tell the nurse or provider seeing you if you have a mail-order prescription service, needing prescriptions to be written in a certain way. Sometimes a special form is needed to fill or refill mail-order prescriptions – if so, make sure you bring this in.
Be sure to report to your allergist, any new medication you have started since you were last seen.
Report or discuss any concerns you have over side effects from your medications. Be clear in describing what those possible side effects are.
Make sure we have the current pharmacy (and their phone number) that you are using.