The Empowered Patient Checklist - Free PDF Download - Click to download

The Empowered Patient Checklist – Free PDF Download – Click to download

Many great ideas came out of last week’s Patient Chat. The topic was “Creating an Appointment Check List”, which was inspired by the book “The Checklist Manifesto” by surgeon Dr. Atul Gawande. The book has been adopted by surgeons, doctors, and airline pilots (as well as GTD and productivity geeks) as a way to adapt to the many “to do’s” required to get high performance, high-pressure jobs  done without forgetting any thing – be it small or large.  

The Independent wrote this about the book: “Already, a simple surgical checklist from the World Health Organization designed by following the ideas described here has been adopted in more than twenty countries as a standard for care and has been heralded as “the biggest clinical invention in thirty years” (The Independent).

But what about patients?

Patients can also benefit greatly by keeping “simple” check lists for each healthcare related task, including doctor visits. We are busy at creating tools to help you manage the many tasks surrounding your healthcare. And, with the help of our Patient Chat community, we have created a free PDF entitled “Empowered Patient Checklist by“.

The checklist is not all-encompassing, but we have left space for you to fill-in personal items as well as many of the great ideas from the chat, including:


  • Create or print out current lists of medications & supplements

  • Create a list of questions for your doctor & for your nurse

  • Set an intention and agenda for the visit – Ask “What is the purpose of this visit? What do I need from this visit?”_______________________

  • What type of visit is this?

    • Check-up

    • Follow up on previous diagnosis

    • New issue

    • Other___________________

  • Bring the research you have done about your condition and any questions related to the research

  • Information about your condition since the last visit – both positive and negative “What’s working? What’s not working?”

  • Insurance card

  • Directions to doctor’s office

  • Who is driving me to the appointment?_______________________

  • Will I go alone or would I prefer a family member or friend be there?___________

  • Smart phone or smart tablet

  • A recording device – Ask your doctor ahead of time if he/she minds that you record the appointment

  • Entertainment/Reading materials for the waiting room

  • Past medical records relevant to this visit

  • Past medical diagnoses from other providers

  • A list of all my healthcare team with their contact information

  • Reflect – Have I done what the doctor suggested since my last visit? If no, why not?


  • Write down specific instructions from doctor or ask doctor/nurse/caregiver/friend

  • Will I require additional tests?

  • When will I get test results? How will you follow up with me?

  • Ask yourself, “Does the doctor understand me? Do they have all my information? Do they get it?”

  • Communicated symptoms clearly and concisely

  • When should I return?

  • Be clear and honest with your doctor about which orders and suggestions you plan to act on, and which ones you won’t or can’t and why.

  • If seeing doctor for a new issue/symptom, what is my diagnosis exactly?

    • Do I have one yet?

    • If not, what do I need to do to get one?

  • Ask yourself and doctor, “Will I require a second opinion?”


  • Take a moment in the room to gather your thoughts so you can ask any remaining questions

  • Take doctor’s orders with you, ask the doctor and nurse to write everything down

  • Ask for print out of medical records at time of visit

  • Print out of prescription orders

    • Do I understand how to take the prescriptions?

    • What side effects should I watch for?

  • Any referrals to other doctors?

  • Second opinion – do I need or want one?

  • Follow up questions – create a list

  • Outside, call family & friends & explain the appointment results

We will be adding to the PDF as we get more ideas from our Empowered Patient community. So please submit your suggestions in the comments below.

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Darla Brown
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Darla Brown

CEO & Founder at
Darla Brown is the co-founder and CEO of and a life long technology enthusiast and nerd. is a digital health company focused on empowering people in their health. Darla's career in technology spans two decades, where she has successfully led engineering teams in Los Angeles to build highly scalable, consumer-facing platforms for companies like,, Taschen Books, E*TRADE, The Jim Henson Company, and many more. She transitioned her focus into healthcare after going through cancer treatment in 2010 and finding so few technologies created from the patient's perspective. She is a strong voice for patient-centered, value based care, as well as accessibility and transparency. She is also a registered yoga teacher and meditation teacher.
Darla Brown
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