On Your Health

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Prepare a Health History for Your Doctor Visit


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Your health is precious, but the time you get to spend with you doctor can be limited. In order for your appointment to be productive, Dr. Justin Sparkes, an internal medicine physician with INTEGRIS, recommends preparing a list of health history items beforehand so you and your doctor can get as much out of your visit as possible.

I'm Dr. Justin Sparkes, internal medicine with INTEGRIS. When a patient comes to see me for a problem visit, I like them to have prepared a list of their symptoms and how those developed over chronological order, or how they increased in severity or decreased in severity leading up to that appointment.

Together we can flush out the pertinent social history and family history, surgeries and medicines, anything else that may have discovered some relevancy to this problem. But it's really important when they come with those list of symptoms, kind of thought through in their own mind a couple of times.

It helps them add to this really important story before we ever see each other. And then from that, we can do a physical exam that helps us add and subtract problems to that list of possible ailments. And then we can decide together what tests would be appropriate.

What does the patient feel is appropriate to go from that step forward? How much do they want to be involved with additional testing? What are their expectations? And together, we can really decide a plan of action from that meeting going forward for what's appropriate for every individual patient.

And this helps us get the most out of their time. So it's very important at the conclusion of those meetings to go back through -- here's what we're thinking about, here's what we're going to do about it, and understand the whys behind both of those questions. And that allows for a much better relationship between the patient and the physician, and it allows for a much more productive time period during those encounters.

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