What is essential to being an empowered patient? We explored this idea about a week ago on #patientchat, and here are a few things that people talked about:


  • A notepad, pencil or iPad to take notes
  • Health records, list of medications or other tracking systems
  • A credit card
  • An insurance card
  • A list of questions to keep their doctors on track
  • Words with Friends or other entertainment for the waiting room
  • An extra pair of ears
  • Inspirational notecards to keep our spirits up!

What else would you bring? Full chat transcript available below the page break

Join us this week, Friday December 20th, 1pm EST / 10am PST for a special holiday-themed #patientchat on self-care!

Question 1: If you could go to a desert island for your doctor’s appointment (bear with us), what is one thing would you have with you?

  • @abrewi3010: probably my iPad so I could take notes, have questions ready, schedule follow ups, ask dr google for help. #patientchat
  • @westr: My health records/EHR #patientchat @Intakeme
  • @coffeemommy: T1 – Yeesh only one. Health history is solid in my head these days so – a pencil (I can always find something to write on) #patientchat
  • @carlyRM: #patientchat what do I take to *every* medical appointment? Credit card. @Intakeme
  • @AraSevera13: #patientchat My husband. Someone credible that can “testify” to my issues and will be taken more seriously since he is a male.

Question 2: What else is essential?

  • @coffeemommy: @Intakeme A friend, spouse, extra pair of ears. #patientchat
  • @westr: Programmed patient advocacy! RT @Intakeme: T2 So far on our toolbelt we have ipad & health records. What else is essential? #patientchat
  • @abrewi3010: #patientchat a2 depending on the doc all meds or at least a list with refill amounts remaining.
  • @AraSevera13: #patientchat AND.ins card, list of all meds (daily and PRN), med allergies, prior diagnoses, list of prior surgeries….
  • @coffeemommy: Bring list of your specific questions (they sometimes get lost in the ongoing drama of an appointment) #patientchat
  • @Intakeme: I bring a print out of prescriptions and supplements to each one but so far doctor rarely uses it. #patientchat
  • @carlyRM: #patientchat I bring a notebook and pen (or iPhone) to take notes at my appointment @Intakeme
  • @KellyRawlings: Also, appt reminder phone calls & postcards should ask ppl to bring their data to the appt! Offer incentives even #patientchat

Question 3: Do you go in the room alone or is a companion with you at all times? Are they essential? If so, how?

  • @coffeemommy: Depends on type of appt. I check-up solo. MT @Intakeme: T3 Do you go in the room alone or is a companion with you? #patientchat #patientchat
  • @abrewi3010: #patientchat A3 I always go alone. My health starts with me then goes out as needed

Question 4: Do you consider your phone / digital device a must have for your tool belt? Or do you record notes on paper?

  • @coffeemommy: @Intakeme I record notes from oncology appointments on paper. They go in a binder. Too cumbersome to take notes on phone. #patientchat
  • @westr: T4 I use a 100 page Word doc that serves as my personal #EHR until HC industry can provide me with computer version @Intakeme #patientchat
  • @abrewi3010: A5 my phone is a must have. Great for keeping mind on appointment and not on scheduling/payment info. #patientchat
  • @westr: Withings BP on mine; easy for doc to read tracked history: RT @abrewi3010#patientchat A5 phone great tool #patientchat
  • @karenasolis: #patientchat I use my iPad to try to find more Apps to track my sympthoms. My doctors never use the data but for me is really useful.

Question 5: What about entertainment? We all know waiting is part of any appointment.

  • @westr: Bring extensive reading, & now iPhone
  • @coffeemommy: “Trash mags” in the waiting room!
  • @abrewi3010: waiting at doc office is great time to catch up Word with Friends games #patientchat

Question 6: What about inspirational tools? Any place for those?

  • @coffeemommy: Use whatever makes you feel most comfortable & empowered
  • @westr: ‘Preparedness’ is my most inspirational tool.
  • @Intakeme: maybe a thought, mantra, or inspiring quote? When I went thru chemo, I had a stack of index cards I’d take. #patientchat
  • @coffeemommy: “Inspirational tool” inside my cancer book. Preparedness + love. #patientchat
  • @KellyRawlings: Why is my A1C result on an ugly sheet of paper? I take it home & add stickers to celebrate my hard work! #patientchat
  • @anetto@coffeemommy I feel inspired by success stories of others, compassion from carers who care day after day. #patientchat

Last question: If you were magic, what tool would you invent to go with you to your appointment?

  • @westr: User-friendly HER
  • @abrewi3010: the never empty debit/Checking account!!!

Thanks all for participating and see you this Friday for the next #patientchat!

Photo Credit: Flickr

Emily Lu

Emily Lu

Co-founder at Intake.Me
As a medical student going into family medicine, Emily joined to leverage technology to create a more patient-centered health care system. Emily is now a resident in the UCSF-SFGH Family and Community Medicine program. She is focused on developing a primary care system that uses technology to empower patients. Emily is passionate about underserved medicine, public health and quality improvement. She was selected to present an Ignite!Talk at Medx2015 on streamlining doctor visits.
Emily Lu