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    Mayo Clinic Minute: How to have a productive visit with your health care professional

Whether an appointment has been on the calendar for months or your visit to your health care professional's office is because of a sudden issue, getting the right treatment and answers to questions starts with a productive conversation.

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When it comes to making the most of your visit to your health care professional's office, details about your health are critical. Ashley Pena, M.D., a Mayo Clinic neurologist, says consider bringing a friend or family member to your appointment.

"Another person may be able to provide insights that are very helpful to your doctor," says Dr. Pena.

Make a timeline of important events. When did a symptom first appear? Have you taken any medications? If so, how did your body respond?

Dr. Pena says your visit should not be the first time your care team hears about certain topics. Do not wait to describe new developments in your condition or ask questions about medications.

"Those questions are best answered by writing your doctor over an electronic medical record portal if your doctor has one, or by calling into their care team," says Dr. Pena.

When communicating, another tip is to use plain language. "It's best to talk to your doctor just like you're talking to a family member or a friend," says Dr. Pena. "Don't feel like you need to use medical terminology or understand medical terminology to make it through your visit."

For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in an area not designated for patient care, where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

For more information and all your COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.

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