Tips on making the most of your consults

Hi all,

I’ve always been a bit nervous going into consults and sometimes feel like I forget a lot of things because of that anxiety. I thought I would start up a thread to talk about some good strategies around this feeling to avoiding the whole “uhh… I forgot everything we talked about” situation a couple hours later.

I can update this post with people’s tips, so they’re all in one spot.

  • Come with issues or concerns in mind (or written down) - I think we’ve all felt a little rushed by the doctor when we go see them, because they’re running behind or they only have a set time that they get compensated for for a consult. There may be a lot of issues that they think are important, but don’t necessarily address your concerns. Coming in with a list of concerns can help you focus the conversation on some of the issues that you want addressed.

  • Bring a trusted friend/family member - Having someone there may prevent you from missing any bits of the conversation and help the discussion. It can also help ease your anxieties. They can even help you advocate for your welfare if you aren’t feeling up to it (Tips on making the most of your consults - #3 by Suwang88).

  • Bring a pad and paper to make notes - You’re much less likely to forget things if you write them down. Not just that you have something to stick up, but the act of writing something down can help solidify memories (I insist that all of my students take notes during our meetings).

  • Record the visit (Tips on making the most of your consults - #2 by Elton) - Though it’s a good idea to ask first (Tips on making the most of your consults - #3 by Suwang88).

  • Change doctors if you feel like there’s poor communication - (Tips on making the most of your consults - #4 by Bansah1) Different people need different doctors. It’s a relationship and it’s best to leave that relationship if things aren’t working out.

Looking forward to the community’s suggestions of strategies they’ve used (or ones from our Health Experts that they’ve seen).


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I was diagnosed during covid and I couldn’t see the doctor face to face. I recorded my phone consultations and listed to it afterwards to help me understand his answers.


I have done all three of these as a patient and I think these are great tips.

As a patient (for breast cancer), I had a friend come with me also to be my advocate. Like I would tell her what was most important for me to get across or get an answer to, and she would echo my concerns to the doctor to make sure my point got across (because sometimes we dismiss our own views trying to be polite and look like we understand, lol).

I encourage patients to bring family members when they are first diagnosed w HBV, because I know those family members have a lot of questions that the patient may not be able to comfortably answer. If they can’t physically come, can also call them in during the visit.

Asking if you can record a visit is a good idea too so you can replay it later.

Hi Thomas,
Those are great points. I had written down my concern and had a friend in the room when I think I need a second ear (s). With my current hepatologist I do not feel rushed when I see him. I actually feel rushed when I see my primary care provider. I think it is important for us to advocate for our own health. I had an hepatologist from the same hospital and she was really bad. It takes her sometimes 3 months long and me calling her office many times to get my lab results. I drive about an hour to a train station, catch a train (30-45 minutes) and catch a bus (30-60 minutes) to get to her office and it felt like I was never listened to. When I try talking to her about my concerns it just felt like I was talking to a tree. At some point I was like enough, so I found another hepatologist from the same hospital and what a difference. I have never had issues with him since 2015 when I saw him first. We work together as a team. He listens to my concerns and addresses them accordingly when possible. Oh, he is not worried to say he does not know something if that was the case and I respect that. I don’t feel like I am talking to a tree or a wall. Another advantage is I use the patient portal very well. There are visit summaries, tests ordered and results, appointments and reminders. I can email my hepatologist anytime if I have a question or concern and I will get a response within 1-3 days. I remember when I saw him the first time he asked me what happened? He could see from my chart that I was seeing one of his colleagues. I said yes, he is right. She was one of the worst doctors I have ever seen. Then I mentioned to him that I needed a doctor who is proactive when it comes to my health. So we kind of established what I was looking for from my hepatologist and that actually has helped build a professional relationship. I know it is impossible for everyone to find a good hepatologist that cares and listens, but we can advocate for ourselves. There is nothing wrong in finding someone else. If your hepatologist office has an effective patient portal use it. Everything he talks to you about will be there if you need a refresher. Thanks, Bright.

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Thanks all, I’ve updated the opening post to include these all!

Please keep posting your tips, this is great.


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