Member Survey Member Login
Member Survey Member Login

Getting the Best Value from Your Doctor’s Visits

Getting the Best Value from Your Doctor’s Visits

September 15, 2021

Every day in the United States, hundreds of thousands of people go to the doctor’s office. In fact, about 85% of adults and 95.6% of children have seen a physician in the past year.1 What this statistic means is that you’ll likely be making your own visit to a doctor in the near future. Whether your appointment is routine or a follow-up from an illness or surgery, a few simple steps can help you and your eligible dependents get the most out of your doctor’s visits.

You and your doctor are partners. Outcomes are better when patients and physicians work together toward a common goal: Your good health. Your relationship with your doctor is important, and should be based on mutual trust, respect, honesty, and clear communication. It’s important to talk about how you’re feeling and what health issues you may be having. You also should not be afraid to ask questions. After all, you know what you’re experiencing health-wise better than anyone else. The more information doctors have about their patients, the better they are able to direct a course of treatment.

Prepare ahead of time for your visit. During these unprecedented times, telemedicine has become a much more common way of visiting with your provider. Whether or not you are seeing your provider in person, prepare for your visit by writing down your list of questions or concerns in advance. Make sure you include a list of medications and medical tests you’ve had since your last visit. If you have seen a physician or physicians for similar reasons previously, let your doctor know. Also, let your provider know if you have traveled out of the country in the past 6 months. Older patients or those with multiple conditions may want to have someone go with them to the appointment since a second set of eyes and ears can be helpful.

Put together your own “health summary.” It is beneficial to both you and your doctor to get an understanding of your medical history, especially if you are seeing a new doctor. This could include: Primary and secondary emergency contacts, Health care Proxy (if you have one), active medical conditions, active medication list (including over-the-counter supplements and vitamins), allergies and other medication side effects, and family history. Share it with your doctor and let someone close to you know where to find it should you face an emergency situation.

Play an active role in your own health. In addition to keeping your information current and also talking with your doctor, it’s important that you follow the treatment recommendations you are given. As your partner, your physician should monitor your health, and propose conventional, self-care and evidence-based complementary care plans. But as you work with a health provider, if you don’t feel empowered to participate in your care options, their effectiveness—and your overall health and wellness—can suffer.2 While physicians do the screenings and prescribe treatments, the patient is responsible for prevention. Take your medications as directed and complete the course of those medications unless otherwise instructed. Make the recommended lifestyle modifications and always call the office if your health changes.


  • Arrive on time or early in case you need to update your paperwork
  • Call ahead if you will be late. Sometimes offices can adjust schedules
  • Present your questions at the start of your appointment
  • Do online research of health sites, but ask your provider which sites he/she would recommend

Do Not…

  • Withhold questions
  • Be embarrassed by asking questions
  • “No show” for your appointment, as that slot could be needed by another patient

Don’t forget, your medical appointment is important to you and your doctor, so be sure the time you spend together is productive and leads to better health!

For more information about your health coverage, NYCDCC Welfare Fund participants can visit


1 “FastStats – Physician Office Visits.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 Apr. 2021,

2 “How to Be an Effective Partner in Your Own Healthcare Plan.” Dr. Wayne Jonas, 3 Sept. 2019,