Follow these 6 tips to get the most out of your Dermatology appointment.
1. Know what medications you are taking– Often patients will come in and tell us, “My other Doctor gave me some cream and pills, I don’t know the name of them but they didn’t work”. Knowing what treatments did not work for you in the past can be very helpful to your provider. How upset would you be if you got home and discovered we gave you the same exact cream and pills you had in the past? Make sure you come prepared. Bring your medications with you or write down the names of them. I am a huge fan of technology so I love the idea of taking pictures of your medications and storing them in your phone. It only takes a few seconds and there is no extra bulk to carry around.
2. Don’t be embarrassed– We’ve seen it all. We don’t care if you shaved your legs, have recently gotten a pedicure, have sock lint between your toes or have your “cute” underwear on. If your rash is covering your whole body be prepared to get in a gown so we can do a thorough examination.
3. Write your questions down– It is very frustrating when you get to your car after your appointment and think to yourself, “Darn! I forgot to ask _____”. If you write your questions down you won’t forget them. While you should write down all of your questions make sure the list isn’t too long. If you have 20 questions about 10 different problems we won’t be able to give each topic the attention it deserves. Medical information can be overwhelming. If we are able to focus on a few topics it will enable you to have a better understanding of your conditions.
4. Get to your appointment early, do your homework and come prepared—If possible, schedule your appointment first thing in the morning or right after lunch to avoid the busier times. If you feel your appointment may require a little more time than usual tell the receptionist when scheduling to allow for sufficient time. Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your appointment time if you are a new patient to fill out any necessary paperwork. Our office has made forms available online so you can print them at home and bring them in filled out to save time.
5. Be honest and open—It’s important to answer all health questions honestly, even with sensitive questions regarding drug or alcohol use, sexual history or other lifestyle habits. This information can be crucial when attempting to establish your diagnosis.
6. Outsmart your rash– When it comes to skin we know rashes come and go. We hear almost every day “It looks a lot better today, but yesterday it was so much worse!” In Dermatology a physical examination of your skin is the most important component of our evaluation. If your rash tends to come and go take a good, quality picture of your condition when it is at it’s worse. Make sure the picture is a well lit, clear, close-up and detailed picture. Printing them up for us to view is very helpful, it enables us to see the detail better. If you do have it stored on your phone make sure you have it pulled up ready to go. As fun as it might be to see your snapshots from your latest Vegas trip your rash pictures will be much more helpful. If you wake up the day of your appointment and your rash is no where to be found still make it to your appointment but know there is probably not much we can do. We may be able narrow down your diagnosis to a few options but may not be able to give you a firm diagnosis. What your visit will do is “open the case” for your condition. Our office makes an effort to squeeze established patients in same day when their rash appears for evaluation.