Your Tips on How to Get Off to the Best Start with a New Specialist

I’m looking for your best tips.
Starting a relationship with a new specialist can be daunting. You want to get off to a good start and ensure that you establish mutual respect and are able to develop trust. You want to know you’re in good hands. What is their expertise and experience? What research are they doing? Will they listen and consider your input?

How do you get off to the best start with a new provider? What suggestions would you tell a friend who is going to see a new doctor?

@roch

Great idea to prepare information on how to prepare. I hope you ask some appointment coordinators, nurses and doctors for their input also.

I try to be as prepared for any questions the doctor might ask and have a list of questions for the doctor. The more prepared I am, the more efficient the appointment will be. I would rather have too much information with me then not enough.

Think back to other doctors' appointments, what questions did the nurse or doctor ask. Be prepared to answer those questions again.

I have been a patient of Mayo my entire life, and all my information is online, I still bring the following list to my appointment just in case. Even though information is online, it does take time for a doctor to find. If he wants to look up details, it is nice to have dates of previous tests, etc…

My suggestions:

1. Make sure your appointment is with right specialist. At Mayo the appointment coordinators should be able to help. Just because a friend saw a certain doctor, he/she might not be correct specialist for your condition.
2. Have your referring doctor send all medical records (preferable electronically). In addition, bring a copy with you just in case something gets misplaced. Again, preferable on a disk.
3. In addition, I always have the following with documents with me:
○ List of all medications I take, who prescribed, why I take that medication, how long I have taken that medication.
○ If there are other medications I have taken in recently that I no longer take, it is nice to have that information also. Maybe your previous doctor recommended something and it did not work. You want your new doctor to know this information.
○ Your list should include all prescribed and over the counter medication.
○ You might want to bring all the bottles with you so there is no question about dosages.
○ List of all allergies
○ List of all surgeries, date and location.
○ List of all medical conditions, when diagnosed and are you still being treated for this condition. A specialist is not there to treat all your problems, but something may be related to your current problem.
4. Write down your understanding of current problem and list of symptoms. Be specific.
a. When did symptoms start
b. How are you treating the symptoms
c. Does anything make them worse or better.
d. What tests have been done for current problem, date, location, results
5. Write down your questions related to current problem in order of importance. At end of appointment, look through your list and see if they have been answered.
6. Take notes, the doctor's summary will be available online after your appointment. If he tells you something and you do not know how to spell it, ask him to write it down.

If your appointment is at Mayo, and you use the internet register for the Mayo Portal. It is great reference to double check appointment information, fill out forms, check results and see doctor notes. Even if you fill out form online, also bring information to appointment. And if use a smart phone, download app.

Hope this helps.
Laurie

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This is great information! I am coming to Mayo for the first time in A few weeks— this is really helpful!!!!

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@jeanern01

This is great information! I am coming to Mayo for the first time in A few weeks— this is really helpful!!!!

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Hi @jeanern01 – Welcome to Connect! Glad you found this Group. I go to Mayo Jacksonville and I just love it. Beside fantastic medical care, the facility itself is just beautiful. Which Mayo campus will you be visiting?

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Hi Colleen, I do think it’s important to ask what research they are doing or would they do research if you find you have a rare disorder. My son ended up being diagnosed by children’s hospital genetics with a rare disorder and the doctor he had been seeing for over 20 years told me, he didn’t know anything about that disorder and didn’t care to look it up. Genetic team reached out to him for a response after finding the disorder and as of today’s date he has not responded to them, going on 4th week. So from my experience, please ask the new specialist questions. I’ve had to move on to new doctor. It’s just sad for someone else that would come thru that doctor, and he could possibly have helped them. But Because he didn’t want to do the research, I had no choice to move on. I advocate for my mentally challenged son. Bottom line is find a doctor that does research and will correspond with other drs.

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@adah

Hi Colleen, I do think it’s important to ask what research they are doing or would they do research if you find you have a rare disorder. My son ended up being diagnosed by children’s hospital genetics with a rare disorder and the doctor he had been seeing for over 20 years told me, he didn’t know anything about that disorder and didn’t care to look it up. Genetic team reached out to him for a response after finding the disorder and as of today’s date he has not responded to them, going on 4th week. So from my experience, please ask the new specialist questions. I’ve had to move on to new doctor. It’s just sad for someone else that would come thru that doctor, and he could possibly have helped them. But Because he didn’t want to do the research, I had no choice to move on. I advocate for my mentally challenged son. Bottom line is find a doctor that does research and will correspond with other drs.

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@adah….I'm glad to hear you've found another doctor for your son. Some doctors are as biased and pessimistic about mental challenges as the ordinary citizen. Your advocacy for your son will help others. Is there a rare disease support group where you can share your story?

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@jrbuff

Has anyone had a si joint fusion. ?

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Hi. Was just wondering if you had the SIJ fusion.

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No – no fusion. Nothing done to my spine except what I can do with PT help and exercises

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@jeanern01

This is great information! I am coming to Mayo for the first time in A few weeks— this is really helpful!!!!

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@jeanern01 I just returned from my first visit at Mayo in Rochester with Dr Aksamit. He was very kind and spent at least an hour if not more with me. The whole place is a bit overwhelming when you first walk in but everything is well marked and bring good walking shoes. It was a bit chilly so make sure you bring a sweater. Plan to be there for 3-4 days. I think everyone should be evaluated at least once at a large center with the most experience and expertise.

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@debbraw

Hi @jeanern01 – Welcome to Connect! Glad you found this Group. I go to Mayo Jacksonville and I just love it. Beside fantastic medical care, the facility itself is just beautiful. Which Mayo campus will you be visiting?

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Hi! I am visiting Rochester. Hoping maybe to have follow up care at Jacksonville, I live in Pensacola so that would be much more easier.

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@jkiemen

@jeanern01 I just returned from my first visit at Mayo in Rochester with Dr Aksamit. He was very kind and spent at least an hour if not more with me. The whole place is a bit overwhelming when you first walk in but everything is well marked and bring good walking shoes. It was a bit chilly so make sure you bring a sweater. Plan to be there for 3-4 days. I think everyone should be evaluated at least once at a large center with the most experience and expertise.

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@jkiemen …what made you decide to get input from Mayo?tdrell

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@jeanern01

Hi! I am visiting Rochester. Hoping maybe to have follow up care at Jacksonville, I live in Pensacola so that would be much more easier.

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@jeanern01 Hi Jean! I was treated at the Jacksonville Mayo Clinic. It is a quite a drive from Pensacola but worth the trip. We lived in Panama City until Hurricane Michael hit. I then lived at my son’s in Daphne, Alabama afterwards until the end of December 2018. You should be satisfied with the care at this location too!

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@jeanern01

Hi! I am visiting Rochester. Hoping maybe to have follow up care at Jacksonville, I live in Pensacola so that would be much more easier.

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Hi @jeanern01 – I'm going to echo what Jo Ann K @jkiemen said – Mayo Jacksonville is cold too. I live in St. Augustine. I always take a sweater or jacket – winter or summer. Actually, summer is probably worst because the AC is cranked up so high. Just FYI, if you are coming from Pensacola, you'll probably need to stay overnight. There is a Hampton about a mile away from the Jacksonville campus and they have a free shuttle. There is also a Marriott right across the street – walking distance. The Hampton offers a discount for Mayo patient and its a very nice facility. Not sure if Marriott gives a discount. Will you be coming to Mayo Jax anytime soon?

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@debbraw

Hi @jeanern01 – I'm going to echo what Jo Ann K @jkiemen said – Mayo Jacksonville is cold too. I live in St. Augustine. I always take a sweater or jacket – winter or summer. Actually, summer is probably worst because the AC is cranked up so high. Just FYI, if you are coming from Pensacola, you'll probably need to stay overnight. There is a Hampton about a mile away from the Jacksonville campus and they have a free shuttle. There is also a Marriott right across the street – walking distance. The Hampton offers a discount for Mayo patient and its a very nice facility. Not sure if Marriott gives a discount. Will you be coming to Mayo Jax anytime soon?

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I am not sure- I am scheduled at Rochester on Sept 9th. I am meeting the surgeon and depending on if or when i need surgery will probably determine when I go to Jacksonville… I tried to go there first but was told for the surgery I would need I needed to go to Rochester… thank you for all the great information though!! I feel so overwhelmed right now the littlest bit of details and information offered gives me some comfort and emotional ease!

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I’m in Pensacola, too, and going to Rochester Mayo nect month!! What are you going far if you don’t mind my asking. Thanks!!

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@jeanern01

I am not sure- I am scheduled at Rochester on Sept 9th. I am meeting the surgeon and depending on if or when i need surgery will probably determine when I go to Jacksonville… I tried to go there first but was told for the surgery I would need I needed to go to Rochester… thank you for all the great information though!! I feel so overwhelmed right now the littlest bit of details and information offered gives me some comfort and emotional ease!

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We had to travel to Rochester 4 times now. Very expensive as there is no direct flights from Denver. I leave to go pick up my husband from the brand new Mayo accute rehab next to St Mary’s. The restaurants and decent hotels are pricy too so prepare

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@ees1

I’m in Pensacola, too, and going to Rochester Mayo nect month!! What are you going far if you don’t mind my asking. Thanks!!

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I was found to have a rare congenital heart condition- Mayo is one of the few places in the country who has dealt with this condition.

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