It's hard to remember everything you get at a doctor's visit—it's a lot of information. Likely, you will remember certain things more than others. For example, there's no doubt you heard that regular exercise could significantly impact your overall health. We hear that everywhere, after all. But what did your doctor say about how to take your thyroid medication? And, what was the name of that particular diet you should consider?
Being able to recall what your doctor said is vital for your thyroid health. We know it can be tough to remember what your doctor says when you are worried or not feeling well. Ahead, ten tips on how to remember what your thyroid doctor tells you.
10 tips to get the most out of your doctor's visit
Do your research ahead of time
If you are seeing your doctor about a specific condition like hypothyroidism or Hashimoto's, do some research ahead of time to have a general understanding of your diagnosis. For example, you will want to know what causes the condition, what symptoms accompany it, and what treatment options are available. Once you have a general understanding of the basics, it can help you focus on the finer details of managing your condition in your online doctor's visit.
Check your tech
Make sure that you have the necessary telemedicine app downloaded, the correct password set, and test it out beforehand. Choose a well-lit space with a good internet connection and minimal distractions. When you join the video visit, check that your video and audio are working correctly.
Prioritize what you want to focus on with your doctor
Be clear on what you hope to get out of the time with your thyroid doctor. Bring a list of questions with you to your appointment. It's not uncommon to forget what you were going to ask once you're face-to-face with your doctor. Pick three or four questions or complaints that are most important to you to talk about with your doctor, and share those at the beginning of your appointment.
Paper and pen are still in, especially when it comes to jotting down information from your thyroid doctor. While our thyroid doctors include an after-visit summary, it may help write notes or questions in your handwriting. Physically writing something out helps with memory retention. If pen and paper are not your thing, a phone is an equally feasible place to type out some notes.
Ask clarifying questions
Didn't understand something? Ask your doctor for clarification. Sometimes, it's as simple as needing to hear something again to help it stick in your mind. Other times, you need more information to understand why your doctor is making a particular recommendation. Many nuances make managing hypothyroidism complex. Your doctor should expect and encourage you to ask questions. After all, this is your visit, so having your questions answered should be a primary goal for both you and your doctor.
Share how you're feeling, honestly
It's crucial to establish a strong partnership with your doctor—one built on trust and respect. Share with your doctor if you feel rushed, worried, or uncomfortable.
Ask for additional resources
Ask your doctor if they can recommend any written or recorded materials about your thyroid symptoms or treatments.
Give your doctor a summary of your plan
Wrap up your visit by summarizing what the plan is for you going forward. This method is called the "teach-back method." Studies indicate that the teach-back method improves the retention of information. For example, when your doctor asks if you have any additional questions, tell them you will repeat what you heard about your next steps to ensure you are on the same page. Summarizing your plan helps your doctor review the visit, which may bring up additional information and allow your doctor to correct any misunderstandings.
Talk to other members of your care team
Your care manager or pharmacist may be able to spend additional time with you. Talking with your entire care team can help you better understand and carry out your treatment plan.
Follow-up with your doctor between appointments
If you forget or have additional questions about the doctor's instructions after leaving your appointment, follow-up with an email or phone call. Your care manager can check with the doctor and get back to you with clarification.
A note from Paloma Health
Paloma Health's Complete Thyroid Care Membership makes it easy to manage your hypothyroidism. With your secure online dashboard, it's easy to track your test results over time, keep your after-visit notes in one place, and chat with your thyroid doctor whenever you need.