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Preparing for an Appointment at UPMC in central Pa.

Good medical care begins with good communication. The more engaged you are in your own health the better your health care . Get the most out of your doctor’s appointment by doing some preparation ahead of time.

Before Your Appointment

  • If this is your first appointment, verify with the front office staff that the practice accepts your insurance.
  • When making the appointment provide a few details about your health concern so that a proper length of time can be scheduled.
  • If it is your first visit gather information about diseases that run in your family.
  • Make a list of your current and past health problems, prior surgeries and hospitalizations.
  • Make a list of the medications you are taking (or bring in the bottles) including the amount and frequency for each prescription. Include over-the-counter drugs, as well as herbs, supplements and vitamins.
  • Consider bringing a friend or relative to the appointment to make notes and help you remember details of what you discussed with your doctor.
  • Make notes about your symptoms or health concerns ahead of time so you remember them at your appointment.

What to Bring to Your Appointment

  • Your insurance card(s)
  • Your medication list
  • Your list of hospitalizations and medical history
  • Notes about your health concerns

During Your Appointment

  • Explain your symptoms or health concerns.
  • Discuss your relevant health history, and the list of medications that you take.
  • Don’t hold back information and don’t be embarrassed. Your physician has heard it all.
  • Don't forget about your emotional health; it influences your physical health.
  • Your health is worth your physician’s time. Repeat what the physician has told you to be sure you understand. Ask for clarification if needed.

Before Leaving Your Appointment

  • Don’t leave until you fully understand your next steps and/or your recommended treatment plan.
  • Find out if and when you should return for another visit. Schedule a follow-up appointment if necessary.
  • Ask if you need to watch for certain warning signs for your condition, ask when you should be concerned and at what point you need to call in.
  • If you received a new prescription make sure you understand how to take the medicine.
  • Ask how to reach the doctor if you have questions or concerns. By email? By phone? By text? What hours are best? How soon can you expect a response?
  • Don't leave if you are uncertain about your diagnosis or treatment plan.

Need help finding a doctor?

If you would like to make an appointment with one of our Primary Care physicians or specialists contact the UPMC Phone Line at 717-231-8900 or and one of our customer service representatives would be happy to assist you.

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