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Published On: Aug 1, 2022
Last Updated On: Aug 1, 2022
How can you make the most of your next dermatology appointment when you might only have 15 minutes to ask all your questions? The answer is to come prepared. Nobody likes having homework, but setting aside time to prep for your next appointment will help you make the most out of every minute you get – and in the long run your skin will thank you.
To help save you time, we spoke with Dr. JiaDe “Jeff” Yu, board-certified dermatologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, and asked him what he wished more patients did before coming in to see him. He gave us the following five key takeaways.
Make a list of everything you’re taking, Dr. Yu said. Include the dosage, frequency, brand (or generic) and indicate how long you’ve been taking the different medications. Be sure to make note of what helped and what didn’t. “For example, if you’re going in to see someone for your eczema,” Dr. Yu said, “make sure you have a list of which topical steroids or other steroid medications you’ve tried.” This will allow you and your provider to make a shared decision and better informed recommendation for your treatment plan.
Write a chronological summary of your current reason for seeing the doctor. “A clear history of your rash, for instance, can be very helpful for your doctor,” Dr. Yu said. “A timeline of when the rash started, who you saw for it, what you did to treat it can help concisely delineate your medical history.”
Telling your provider about your past lab work or any biopsy results can be very helpful, Dr. Yu said, “since it prevents us from having to ‘recreate the wheel’ if you’re a new patient.” This may also save you time and money by avoiding a lab test you’ve already had done.
Consider writing down what happened between your healthcare appointments. If you’ve seen a dermatologist before, Dr. Yu said, and you’re going in for a follow up visit, make sure you’re able to verbalize what has transpired since your last visit and whether the interventions provided were helpful. Even a short list of bullet points may help you to quickly and effectively provide your doctor with a summary of your recent care.
According to Dr. Yu, pictures of your eczema can be helpful. However, Dr. Yu advises his patients to organize photos of your skin condition in a folder. “Patients will sometimes spend minutes scrolling through photo albums looking for that photo of the rash a few months ago,” he said. “This takes critical time away from your appointment which is better spent coming up with a plan with your dermatologist. ”If it’s easier for you to track all the information in one place, consider downloading EczemaWise and start tracking your symptoms and triggers today.