Because of the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, many Americans have put off routine or well-care checkups but as we approach the New Year, it’s becoming increasingly important to schedule those annual ‘check-ins’ with your primary care provider.
Making an annual check-in with your primary care provider and being prepared for the visit can be the difference between living with chronic conditions unknowingly and addressing those issues moving forward.
As a matter of fact, there are an estimated 1.2 million people living with diabetes who don’t know it. About 13 million U.S. adults with hypertension (high blood pressure) aren’t even aware they have it and are not being treated.
Early diagnosis, prevention and treatment are keys to fighting many chronic conditions and underlying issues that, if left untreated, can prove to be deadly.
Even in a time where many patients might be leery about coming into the office, CareSouth Carolina is encouraging them to make these annual check-ins for the betterment of their health. CareSouth Carolina offers appointments in-person, via telehealth and by hybrid- which is a mixture of both a telehealth visit and a limited, brief in-person visit.
“CareSouth Carolina has adapted to the limitations that COVID-19 has placed on us,” CSC Associate Medical Director Jeniqua J. Duncan said. “There are ways to have these visits done- including all of the ways we are offering appointments- and to be safe, as well.”
The first step is to be prepared.
Healthcare Information Checklist:
- Copies of insurance cards/dental/eye coverage
- Name/Address/Specialty office information/Any hospitalizations/Primary Care Provider information
- List of medical issues, history
- List of prevention/screenings (when it was done, next due)
- Immunization Record
- Surgical or Hospitalization information (if applicable)
- Medication list (what, why you take it, when you take it, how often)
- List of allergies
- Emergency Contacts (have more than one)
- Advanced Directives (Even if you’re healthy, it’s important to have documentation stating what you would want to have done/not have done if you were too sick to answer for yourself)
- Notes on things that serve as roadblocks or obstacles to you being healthy
“It’s important to know that offices like CareSouth Carolina can help with many things that might create a barrier to your health,” Dr. Duncan said.
In addition to having information ready for your provider, it is also to know what questions to ask and to be proactive in discussing your health with your provider.
What questions should I ask?
- What medical conditions am I at risk for and what should I be screened for?
- What needs to be done differently so that I can live a healthier lifestyle?
- What should I be doing now or continuing to do to keep me healthy? (Ie: Screenings, tests, recommendations for maintaining health)
What to expect on a first-time visit?
While many Americans know visiting the doctor is important, millions choose to ignore the visit and their symptoms each year.
If you’re making a visit to check-in for the first time, Dr. Duncan said the visit will mainly consist of the provider trying to get to know you- including your medical and family history.
“They’ll ask you questions about if you’re taking any medications, if you smoke, what your lifestyle is like,” Dr. Duncan said. “In primary care, we’re working to prevent you from being sick. It’s not just about treating things when they come up, it’s a proactive approach that, in the long-run, is going to leave you with a much higher quality of life.”