Making the Most of Your Checkup

For some people, the doctor’s office is a stressful place. Sometimes patients are so stressed, they forget their physician’s instructions! The best way to prevent this from happening to you is to have a plan when you visit your doctor.

A productive checkup increases the potential for a more effective outcome. Before you visit your doctor, check out these seven simple tips:

Preparing for Your Doctor’s Visit

1. Your Symptoms

Your physician can help you most if he or she knows exactly how you are feeling. When you go to see the doctor for a specific reason, write down in advance how you feel. Your physician needs to know who, what, where, when, why and how much – just like a middle school word problem.

Take 15 minutes to write down:

  • What your symptoms feel or look like. Be specific with your descriptors. Here’s a quick list, but use your own words: achy, stabbing, dull, burning, tingly, stiff, sore.
  • Where your symptoms affect you. Do they start in one place or all over?
  • When your symptoms began.
  • Why your symptoms act up. What seems to trigger them.
  • Also write down what reduces or eases your symptoms. Don’t be afraid to include anything that helps. Alcohol, nicotine or other substances can help, and that information will help your doctor.
  • How often do you experience your symptoms and for how long. Are they annoying or crushing?

2. Your Homework

Believe it or not, it helps doctors when you have already looked up your symptoms and have done a bit of research about your condition. This isn’t like your uncle who gets on WebMD and then posts on Facebook that he now has the rarest form of cancer ever.

Researching in advance helps a physician because you can now better understand medical terms they might use. If your throat hurts, glance over the different parts of the throat so you can be specific about your pain and where in the throat you feel discomfort. That helps improve diagnoses than starting with, “It hurts when I swallow.”

Right Before You See the Doctor

3. What Do You Want?

Once you’ve prepared for the doctor, it’s important to prepare for yourself. Write down what you want to know, because – believe it or not – some people get stressed in the doctor’s office and forget what they want to ask. Your checkup is your time. Make sure you get the answers you want. And leave space so you can write down your doctor’s answers (see No. 6).

  • What is wrong with me? What is the name of my disease?
  • Do I need a diagnostic test? Which ones?
  • What are my treatment options? What drugs are you prescribing, and what do I need to know about them?
  • Can the doctor detail their prognosis: What can I expect to happen to me? How long can we expect this to last?
  • Should you reach out for help? Will you experience fatigue, depression or other negative feelings?

4. Where’s Your Medical Information?

  • Did you doctor order tests before your meeting? Make sure you’ve picked up your results in advance. (Nowadays, many imaging results can be sent digitally.)
  • Your doctor is going to ask you what medication you are already taking. Make a list of all your prescriptions and any over-the-counter medication you’ve been taking to alleviate your symptoms. Please add medicines like Tylenol or NyQuil, any natural supplements you’ve been using, or herbal remedies. If they’ve been working well, please let the doctor know that, too.
  • For most appointments, you should bring along a detailed medical history. If your symptoms are especially problematic, make sure to include the health history of your immediate blood relatives.

5. Who Should Your Doctor Contact?

  • Your intake form will ask for emergency contacts.
  • List other doctors who treat you and for what conditions. This should even include chiropractors and holistic healers.
  • Include your preferred pharmacy name, phone and address.

Listening

6. Document New Information

  • Nothing beats an old pen and paper when it comes to learning new information. Write down your doctor’s answers to your questions so you can fully understand them.
  • Take notes on other information the doctor gives you.
  • If a caregiver, spouse or friend joins you on your visit, ask them to take notes for you, so that you can focus on what the doctor is saying.

7. Next Steps

  • Talk to your insurance company about the doctor’s suggestions to make sure you can follow their orders in-network.
  • Ask for authorizations for specialists or other procedures.
  • Make sure you have the phone number of the doctor’s office to follow-up or to ask further questions. Ask for the best person to contact and the best times to call.

Being prepared for a doctor’s appointment will help ensure a more productive office visit. When you are ready to see the doctor, contact us here. We look forward to serving you and will do the very best we can to answer all of your health questions.

Do you have other tips you’d like to share with us? Comment below, please!

Having Trouble Sleeping? Hit the Gym!

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Try adding exercise to your daily routine to enjoy better sleep.

Do you toss and turn? Do you wake up after a few hours and find it impossible to fall back asleep? First, the bad news: so are 60 million other Americans. 60 million Americans will experience some form of insomnia this year.

The Good News

Sleep disorders are treatable, and you can find help at Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic Sleep Disorders Center. The center specializes in the diagnoses and treatment of patients who have sleep difficulties.

There may be personal changes that can also help that don’t require a physician. Putting your smartphone away an hour before bedtime helps your mind and body “power down.” Caffeine stays in your body for 6 – 8 hours after drinking a cup of joe, and your liver needs an hour to break down alcohol. So try having your beverage of choice earlier in the day.

Researchers have found sleep quality improves with exercise.

If you’ve been tossing and turning for twenty minutes, you often become anxious about not falling asleep. Getting out of bed and distracting yourself for a few minutes can help – reading, watching a relaxing show, meditating. But one study shows “a bout of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (e.g., walking) reduced the time it took to fall asleep and increased the length of sleep of people with chronic insomnia compared to a night in which they did not exercise.”

People who regularly hit the gym sleep better and feel more alert during the day than those who are not as active. An Oregon State University sleep study showed that participants who exercised 150 minutes a week slept better and felt less drowsy during the daytime.

Regular physical activity may help those suffering from insomnia without medication.

Why Does Exercise Help?

Oddly, not all exercise seems to assist in battling insomnia. Running, lifting weights and other vigorous aerobic exercise does not immediately improve sleep. After a period of daily exercise, (a few months) adults following vigorous workout routines reported better sleep quality. They reported falling asleep more quickly than they did before starting their exercise regimen, and also sleeping for longer periods of time.

Exercise causes the body to elevate its temperature. This increase in body temperature can last for up to four hours after your workout. The post-exercise drop in temperature promotes falling asleep, so get that workout in before dinner. After that, a little light yoga or an after-dinner stroll is helpful – but don’t take a late HIIT workout.

If you don’t have problems falling asleep, but you wake up after a few hours, a morning jog may be the most beneficial. Beginning the day with exercise will help the body remain in its rested state longer. Make sure that you stretch and warm up if you go this route – your body needs time to adjust from sleep to activity.

Exercise Helps in Other Ways

Insomnia is often linked to depression and anxiety, ranging from mild to severe cases. The release of endorphins as a result of exercise plays a large part in reducing those symptoms.

Circadian rhythm also plays a part in some types of insomnia, and exercise can help to “reset” that natural cycle. Adding exercise early in the day sets the body cycle naturally to rest after a period of time. If your body clock is broken, a quick exercise regimen may be just the thing you need to fix it.

Beyond Exercise

If you have difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep at night or excessive daytime sleepiness, we are here for you. If it seems like nothing works, don’t worry. We have you covered – read this, and learn more about our Sleep Disorders Center here.

Key Benefits Of ADC’s Patient Portal

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Ever walk out of your doctor’s office feeling overwhelmed or anxious? And please don’t even mention the painful wait times. That’s why we’ve given our patients the option to streamline their visits. Our Patient Portal is your safe and easy way to take care of many of your medical tasks associated with doctor visits.

Our portal is powered by FollowMyHealth, and it works as a universal health record. FollowMyHealth is a secure online website that gives patients convenient 24-hour access to personal health information from anywhere with an internet connection. It’s also used by numerous health care organizations and thousands of physicians across the country. It is the driving force behind their hospital or clinic’s specific patient portal. While portals may have a different name, the technology is the same. Using a secure username and password, patients can view health information such as appointments, clinical summaries, medications, immunization, allergies, and lab results.

With FollowMyHealth, you can:

  • Review your medical records online in a safe, secure environment
  • Communicate privately with physicians via secure messaging
  • View test and lab results, read medical notes from your doctor
  • Update your health information (allergies, medications, conditions, etc.)
  • Request Rx refills
  • Schedule or change appointments
  • Fill out and submit forms prior to appointments
  • Share information with other doctors/clinics
  • Fax, print or email records for external use

Best of all, it’s available online anytime via any computer, tablet, or smart phone. With people bypassing the doctor’s office every chance they get, we believe that it’s important for medical offices to adopt these service improvements so patients can have the best experience overall.

Take the stress out of staying healthy. Sign up or log in now.

Common Questions (ADC)

Where is Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic located?

Our physical address is 6700 West 9th. We are located at the intersection of West 9th and Quail Creek.

Will Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic accept my insurance?

The physicians at Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic do participate in and accept most insurance plans. There may be some tests or services that your physician orders which are not covered by your insurance. In this instance, ADC’s staff will do their best to notify you in advance of the test or service being performed. We highly recommend you contact your insurance company and be up-to-date on your coverage plan. We too, are concerned over the rising cost of health care; and in an effort to assist you, we will file insurance claims on your behalf. However, you will be expected to pay any co-pay or deductible amounts at the time services are performed.

Is a referral needed to see a physician at Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic?

Some insurance plans do not require a patient to obtain a referral from their primary care physician for certain procedures; however, others do. You should check with your insurance company or the Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic appointment staff to see if a referral is needed. It is the responsibility of the patient to obtain all necessary referrals.

Can I call and speak directly with my doctor?

It is not always feasible to speak directly to your physician when you call the Clinic. Your call is very important to us and will be returned by your physician’s nurse as soon as possible.

Why did it take so long for my return my phone call?

It is very important that your doctor’s nurse have all of the information necessary to return your phone call. This information could be lab results, X-ray and/or other diagnostic test results and your patient records. It takes a reasonable amount of time for this information to be gathered properly in order to better serve you or your family member.

If I have an emergency, what should I do?

In an emergency, you should go to the emergency room in order that immediate care can be delivered. Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic is not an emergency treatment facility, and you should never come to Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic for urgent or emergency care. At your request, your Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic physician will be notified of your condition and reason for emergency care by the emergency room staff.

How long will I be at the Clinic?

At Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic, we have the ability to provide an extensive variety of services all under one roof. To better serve you or your family member, your physician may order tests or exams that take time to complete. The time you spend at the Clinic will depend upon the test that your physician has ordered for you.

More Common Questions