Advances in modern medicine are keeping us healthy longer than ever before.

To make the most of each visit to your primary care provider, James Dixon, MD, an EVMS Medical Group Internal Medicine-Primary Care physician, suggests you follow these guidelines:

  • Bring all your medicine bottles to each office visit. This helps your provider verify your medications and, if necessary, tweak your treatment.
  • Bring your home blood pressure machine to each office visit. If you have one, your provider can make sure it is functioning properly.
  • Bring a list of your blood pressure and blood sugar measurements. If you record these at home, bring a list so your provider can review it and discuss with you.
  • Develop an agenda for your visit.  This is the best way to make sure your provider doesn’t overlook any of your concerns. Be aware that your provider may have a number of concerns you have not thought of. If you run out of time, your provider may ask you to return in a month to continue the conversation.
  • Be prepared to have your blood pressure checked more than once. Your blood pressure is a vital part of your heart health. If your initial measurement exceeds your goal, your nurse may take it again just to make sure it’s accurate. If it is still too high, your provider will discuss a plan that may include an increase in your medicine and a repeat visit to re-check your blood pressure.
  • Complete all medical history forms. Your responses help your provider understand what may have changed about your health since your last visit.
  • Don’t miss your annual check-up. If you are on Medicare, a yearly Medicare Wellness Exam includes, among other things, a detailed review of your health priorities, cancer screening exams, depression screening, immunization screening and memory screening. There is no co-pay. For those with commercial insurance, many insurers pay for a yearly wellness exam with no co-pay. Remember, though, that if you combine a wellness exam with a regular office visit, you will have a co-pay.