Appointment tips


Play an active role in your care

Your health care team has one very important member — you. Get the most out of your appointments and help us keep you safe and healthy by taking an active role in your care.

Preparing for your visit

  • Write down questions and notes before your appointment.
  • Arrive a few minutes early to allow time for check-in.
  • Bring your Kaiser Permanente ID card and a photo ID.
  • Consider asking a friend or family member to go with you. He or she may be able to help you ask questions, remember answers, or speak for you if you're having trouble communicating.

What to ask during your appointment*

  • What is my main health problem?
  • What do I need to do about it?
  • Why is it important for me to do this?

At your appointment

  • Bring a list of all the medications you're currently taking, including over-the-counter medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
  • Speak up when you have questions or concerns. After your questions are answered, repeat the information back to your doctor in your own words to be sure everything is clear.
  • Tell your health care team about any complementary or alternative treatments you use, such as herbs, acupuncture, or chiropractic care (or any care that you receive outside of Kaiser Permanente).
  • Tell your physician what you expect from treatment, and ask whether your expectations are realistic.
  • Ask anyone on your health care team if you are unsure about anything. If you don't understand the answers you receive, ask for more information.
  • Before you leave, be sure you know:
    • which medications to take and how often
    • when your follow-up tests or appointments are scheduled
    • when and how you should expect your test results and what the results mean
    • when you can return to your regular diet and activities

For your safety

  • Wash your hands and ask us if we've washed our hands. Cleaning our hands, before and after contact with every patient, reduces the risk of infection.
  • Stop the spread of germs by sneezing and coughing into your elbow or use a tissue. Throw the tissue away and then clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Be patient with questions. You may get asked the same question by different members of your health care team, such as your name or whether you have allergies. Asking these questions is one way we make sure that you're getting the right care.

* Adapted with permission from "Ask Me 3" by the Partnership for Clear Health Communication.

Reviewed by: Suzanne Graham, June 2012

© 2012 Kaiser Permanente

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