How to make the most of a doctor’s visit

We’ve all been there: sitting opposite a doctor as they ramble on about health matters that affect you, yet you have no idea what they’re talking about. Between the medical terms and the hard-to-pronounce medicines, they may as well be speaking Spanish.

The first step in taking charge of your health is recognising the power you have as a patient. Here are 5 things you can do to get the best results from your doctor’s visit

1. Prep is the first step

In the same way that you’d prepare for a school exam, you should prepare for your medical exam. Use the Unu app to keep track of your medical history. It will all be stored on your health record, which you can share with your doctor.

Write down your symptoms and health concerns. Make a list, starting with the issues that worry you most, and talk to your doctor about these.

Take a photo or bring along any medicine (over-the-counter, chronic, and supplements) that you are taking. This info will be useful for your diagnosis and treatment.

2. Take notes so you’re in the know

There’s nothing worse than when a doctor gives you a diagnosis or prescribes medicine without explaining anything or telling you how it will affect your day-to-day.

Avoid this by writing down key points, asking questions and collecting pamphlets where possible. Don’t feel shy about not knowing what they’re talking about – health matters can be complicated.

Remember that you’re in the driver’s seat, so feel free to ask follow-up questions and request more tests if this will help you feel at ease. And if there are terms that confuse you, visit for a list of what these terms mean.

3. Two heads are better than one

Your doctor can’t do anything without your permission. So, before your doctor makes any decisions or writes any scripts, you have the right to discuss your concerns with them in detail. Ask questions about:

  • the risks and benefits of medicines or procedures

  • the cost of tests and treatments

  • hat your options are, and

  • what lifestyle changes you can make to manage your health

4. Make sure you see the full picture

If you have trouble hearing or seeing, make sure you bring your glasses or hearing aid along. You can also ask the doctor to speak louder, slower or face you directly if that will help you follow the conversation better.

5. Your voice matters most

Always remember that you are in charge. If you feel rushed, worried or uncomfortable, let your doctor know. You can request a follow-up call or email them to get a better understanding.

At your next visit, give your doctor an update on how you’ve been feeling since you started the meds or made lifestyle changes.

your doctor if your sleeping patterns, weight, appetite or energy levels have changed. If you’d like to try different treatment options, let your doctor know.

And remember, whether you’re chatting to your doctor on WhatsApp or seeing them at their practice, you can use the Unu app to make the most of your time with them.