Orthopedic complaints are one of the most common reasons people seek medical care; in fact, one in seven Americans has some type of orthopedic or musculoskeletal impairment. And with patients flocking to orthopedic specialists to relieve their pain – there’s never been a better time to discuss tips and tricks for making the most out of that first crucial appointment. You wouldn’t go in for a test at school without studying, so why would you arrive at your orthopedic appointment unprepared? A little prep work and you not only will reap the rewards of better health, but you will be providing your doctor with the tools he needs to make the most of your time together. Here are some ways to prepare for your first orthopedic visit to ensure everything goes better than planned.
Plan on coming in 20 minutes early to fill out the necessary paperwork and have all your documentation in order to present to the front desk. You will want to bring not only your insurance card and personal identification, but referrals, X-rays, lab tests, records, and any visit notes from your doctor, medical insurance company, or occupational health provider who may have referred you for an initial orthopedic evaluation or a second opinion. While you’re at it, have a list of questions for the doctor, and be prepared for anything he might ask –from medical history, to what medications you currently are taking. If you use any sort of prosthetic or another assistive device, such as orthotics or a brace, bring that. If the doctor has an online portal, set it up beforehand and fill out all forms or upload documents, as requested. And don’t forget to let the doc know if you have any allergies to latex, medications, certain kinds of metal, etc.
Verify Insurance Coverage
Before selecting your new orthopedist, it’s always good to make sure he is in your insurance plan. It may seem like common sense, but many people forget to ask their new practice or call their carrier prior to the first appointment and end up with a surprise bill of “a-la-carte” services. While some patients prefer to pay out of pocket, nearly everyone else will want to use a doctor who is in their plan. If you are going to have surgery, make sure all the other practitioners – to include radiologists and anesthesiologists – are on your plan too.
Bring a Pen, Paper and Buddy
For some, the doctor’s office can conjure up feelings of nervousness, anxiety, or even fear. Stay on track by writing down a list of the most important questions you’d like to ask. In order to make the most of your appointment, bring a friend or family member with you who can not only help you think of questions you may have forgotten, but also, remember what the doctor told you. And if you plan on having any small procedure done – from wrapping a sprained ankle to getting a cortisone shot – you might want to ask your buddy to drive you home.
The Small Stuff
While doctors are super busy, they know you are too. Be sure to program the doctor’s contact information into your phone and plan ahead to find parking. Verify the address and suite number and plan your route accordingly. If you are running even a few minutes late, be sure to provide a courtesy call to make sure your appointment is not canceled; sometimes the ten minutes you lost will be found a few minutes later, but only if you communicate.
Dr. Brett Gilbert and the staff at EmergeOrtho pride themselves on providing the highest quality comprehensive care to their patients and will work with you to ensure a seamless visit. Should you have any questions prior to your appointment, call EmergeOrtho at 919-788-8797. You can request an appointment with Dr. Gilbert using our appointment request form, or you can self-schedule your appointment here.