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Natural Awakenings Sarasota / Manatee / Charlotte

Make the Most of Doctors’ Visits: How to Maximize Your Time for the Best Health Outcomes

Jul 30, 2018 08:45PM

by Dr. Mayrene Hernandez, Chief Medical Officer of UnitedHealthcare Florida


For many Florida residents, a trip to the doctor’s office can mean having to request time off work, trying to squeeze appointments into hectic schedules or traveling outside the city limits to receive care. So it becomes even more important to maximize the time you and your children spend with your doctor and ensure the healthcare team has the information and resources to provide optimal services. Here are some pointers to help you get the most out of your next doctor’s visit:


Make a list. It can often be difficult to remember all the issues you want to cover during a visit to your doctor. Jot down a list of questions and any symptoms you or your children have noticed beforehand. You’ll also want to note all the medications and supplements anyone is taking.


Know what to bring. Prepare for the appointment by bringing all the necessary items you will need. This includes your health plan ID card, health history notes, and a list of questions or concerns. You should also consider bringing prescription medicine containers to show the doctor to ensure there isn’t any confusion.


Communicate. Receiving the highest level of care hinges on clear communication. Tell your doctor about any new or changing symptoms, family history of disease and trips taken outside the country. Be as honest as possible regarding your health habits and voice any concerns you have with receiving the ideal kind of care, tests or treatments you and your family members need.


Ask questions. If you don’t understand an instruction, then ask your doctor to explain it again. Consider taking notes so you can review them upon returning home. In addition, make sure to ask your doctor to send lab tests to a facility in your health plan’s care provider network and clarify when results will be delivered to you.


Start a preventive care plan. One of the most important aspects of doctor visits are preventive care plans that are designed to maintain the health of you and your family before signs of illness present themselves. Preventive care might include measures like screening tests, vaccines, regular wellness check-ups and more. Ask your doctor what preventive care measures you and your family should be taking in order to sustain the healthiest life possible.


Dr. Mayrene Hernandez is the chief medical director for UnitedHealthcare Florida. She is also a member of UnitedHealth Group’s South East Clinical Services Leadership Team. For more information of wellness information and suggestions on how to communicate with your doctor, visit





Natural Awakenings of Sarasota April 2020 Digital Edition