Filling out forms at the doctor's office.

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My parents have limited eye sight, they are both in their 90's, I am the one who has to fill out the questionnaires at their doctor offices, usually 3 to 6 pages long for each person. I hope anyone who is a doctor or works at a doctor's office will read this.

My pet peeve is these are doctors my parents have been seeing for years on end, year after year, twice a year, four times a year, etc. Every time we have an appointment, new questionnaires have to be filled out.

Can't these forms be pre-filled from the last time we had an appointment and if there are any changes, then I can write those in instead of starting from scratch each time?

Ok, names and addresses are easy, but I don't know their Social Security numbers so Mom needs to rummage through her purse and Dad through his wallet for the numbers. Asking them about their current medications... Mom can rattle her's off but I can't spell them.... and Dad has no idea what he's taking. Then there are the routine lists of symptoms to check off... Mom is almost deaf so I have to speak LOUDLY and it's embarrassing, wish the doctor would ask these questions in the privacy of the exam room.

All in all, I am in such a rush that I am so flustered by the time we actually get to see the doctor I am too tired to pay attention.... [sigh]

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in the health network that employes my Dr everything is now on computer. The receptionist asks if there are any changes in ins etc and then the nurse in the exam room asks about any medication changes and why I am here today. I keep a typed up to date list of my medications in my purse and just hand it over. My husband on the other hand takes a suitcase full; of bottles in and the poor nurse has to sort through that lot. I have no idea what he takes ot if he takes them and he has refused a med box. My Dr can instantly check on previous lab work or the specialist notes from other visits. patients also have the ability to log onto their own records and see reports too. Unfortunately our local hospital is on a different network so we have to travel to the main hospital over an hour away for any procedures. I have changed to a local cardiologist because he seems very good and patient and will probably be sticking around because he has just built himself a new house.
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Many of our doctors will mail or email the forms ahead of time so they can just be handed in at the appointment. Less time exposed to whatever bugs are being passed around in the waiting room, fewer grumpy patients.
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The forms bother me, too. Every time we go to a new doctor there is the stack of forms. What used to be a couple of pages a few years ago is now a small mountain of paper. And the stack continues to grow. I keep all the data on hand so it is easy to reach. My mother can't fill out the forms, so it is like I am taking a test when I go. I love the places that have their forms online, so I can fill them out before going. Otherwise we have to get there 30 minutes early to fill in the forms. They used to ask people to come in 10 minutes early to fill them out. Now it takes 20-30 minutes.

There has been talk for years about getting these things on computer so the paperwork wouldn't have to be replicated at the different places. My mother is in a university network now, so I thought the paperwork was over. Not so. She had to have an x-ray in another department and out came the paperwork to complete. Scream!!!

Sometimes it is time for an appointment and I'm still filling out paperwork. I go with my mother, of course, and have to sit in the exam room filling out the rest of the paperwork quiz. People are worried about putting all this information on a central computer, but apparently these people don't have to fill out the papers repeatedly. It would be wonderful if the doctors could just pull it up on the computer.
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There are two reasons why the practice won't fill in these forms for you. One, they can't be bothered (and time is money). Two, they might make a mistake or overlook a significant change (and then they'd be in trouble).

I agree, it's a pain. For the routine stuff, I'd suggest noting their reference numbers in a diary or similar so that you've always got them with you. For the prescription meds, it's probably a good idea to go through the actual packets anyway and write it all down - if you ever find yourself in ER with either of them you'll be glad you did.

if you're the mischievous type you can have fun with the symptoms. Speak extra loudly, make a few contagious-sounding ones up, and see how fast you can clear the waiting room…

More seriously, one way to make sure you get what you came for is to write down beforehand what you want to know, and then check that you do know that before you leave the consulting room. And if the doctor burbles prescription brand names, ask for the spelling letter by letter, and also get the generic name of the drug. Also get specifics on how much, how many times each day, before, after or with food, etc. Feel free to take the trouble, it saves worse trouble later on. If/when the doctor looks patronising or tells you not to worry about it, just give him/her what Paddington Bear would call "a firm look." You need to know this stuff. Don't get fobbed off. Best of luck!
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freqflyer, I have a spread sheet that shows current medications, discontinued medications, health conditions with MD treating them, and a list of surgeries/hospitalizations by date. All on a nice dated excel printout. I hand that to the receptionist. They like it. At the ER I give it to the RN's and they LOVE it. Mom keeps a copy in the kitchen. I have a copy, my husband has a copy. Saves a lot of time and medication errors.
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