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Health Literacy Month: Get the Most from Your Medical Appointment

Your health care provider is a partner in your good health. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your next visit.

Before your appointment day
1. Make a list of all your medications, including strength and dose.
2. Write down any questions you want to ask.

On the day of your appointment
1. Keep your appointment as scheduled. If you have an emergency, call the office right away.
2. Bring your medication list, insurance card, list of questions, a pad, and a pen.
3. Consider asking an adult family member or friend to accompany you. It is often hard to remember everything, and a friend or family member can be another set of ears.
4. Try to arrive at the office about 15 minutes early to update your paperwork.

At your appointment
1. If you don’t understand something, ask the provider to explain it again.
2. Your health care provider may think you need to see a specialist or get a test at another office. Find out who will make this appointment: you or your health care provider?
3. If you are given a new prescription, ask about potential side effects.
4. Before you leave, go over the instructions one more time with your provider to be sure you have the right information.

After your appointment
1. Notify your provider if you have a reaction to any new medication you were prescribed.
2. Write down any changes in your medical condition.
3. Keep any follow-up appointments that are scheduled for you.

“If you have several concerns to discuss with the doctor or nurse practitioner, please keep in mind the typical office visit allows for 10-15 minutes with the patient,” says Dr. Susan Nelson, Medical Director for Harbor of Health, a program of the Department of Family Medicine. “Your provider wants to treat each concern seriously, so don't try to stuff too much into one appointment. It’s helpful to limit your concerns to your top three issues. It might seem more efficient to take care of all your issues in one visit, but you will shortchange yourself of careful attention to your disease, and important questions might get overlooked in the rush to ‘handle everything’ at one visit.”

When you need healthcare for you or your family, call UT Medical Group’s Department of Family Medicine. Our providers care for both children and adults at three convenient locations: Downtown, East Memphis, and Covington. Contact the office nearest you to make an appointment.

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UT Medical Group

Welcome to UT Medical Group, Inc.

For more than 35 years, patient care has been our first concern at UT Medical Group, Inc.

Whether you need care for a chronic medical condition or an organ transplant, UTMG has a doctor for you. Our award-winning medical staff includes more than 100 providers who offer a wide range of primary and specialty care. Many of them have been named among the best in their fields by Best Doctors®, Top Doctors®, and other organizations. Because these doctors also serve on the faculty of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, they have access to the latest medical treatments and cutting-edge research—which translates into advanced, quality care for our patients. UTMG doctors provide services at many convenient locations, including the Memphis Medical Center and Germantown.


Find a doctor at one of our convenient locations.