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The importance of following up on a consultation

Warum Sie Ihr Arzt-Patientengespräch nachbereiten sollten

During a medical consultation we often receive a great deal of information. Doctors use medical terms, which we do not always understand. Additionally, as patients we are in many cases in poor health, agitated or worried. So it becomes difficult to process the information we receive sufficiently to the extent that we can remember it afterwards.

17.05.2023 | Reading time: 3 Min.
Jérôme Racine

Without follow-up information gets lost quickly.

Here is what we learned at school: during the lesson we had the impression that we understood the content that the teacher presented in the classroom. A day later things were not necessarily so clear.

We had to consult our papers and notes again to get re-acquainted with the subject. Woe betide the pupils who had made no notes.


In the case of doctor-patient consultations there are two reasons in particular why such should be followed up promptly.


The point is to make sure you are able to reconstruct in your own words what the doctor said. You should be able to understand the thought processes that led to the decisions made.


It is also important to ask afterwards what went well during the consultation and what did not go so well. You are then able to draw lessons from what has happened and determine what you want to focus on during the next doctor’s consultation. Or to put it another way: You want to increase your conversational competence in consultations with medical personnel.

Do not wait too long, otherwise a lot gets lost

No matter whether you just listen carefully or make notes during the doctor-patient consultation: take time as soon as possible to note down what you have heard in your own words on your EverAsk crib sheet or on a sheet of paper. Only then can you determine what you understood and what you will have to refer to again during your next consultation.

In addition, you will only fully support the decisions made in the consultation afterwards if you can understand the underlying logic.

Note down:

  • What is no longer clear for you in retrospect;
  • The unanswered questions and the new questions that have come into your mind when following-up on the consultation.

You should include these open questions when preparing for your next consultation with the same doctor.




Tip: Recordings of doctor-patient consultation

Tipp: Tonaufnahe

With a view to following-up consultations, it can often be useful to ask the doctor if you can record the conversation. This is certainly a good idea if you have trouble concentrating fully on the consultation because of strong feelings of anxiety.

Recording a consultation can also be useful if you anticipate the information you will receive could be very stressful.

And finally an audio recording can be valuable if you want to inform third parties close to you about the conversation in greater detail.

Explain your reasons to the doctor at the beginning of the consultation. However, only start recording once you receive express approval.

Another less far-reaching alternative is to ask the doctor to sum up the consultation at the end so that you can record just this summary.



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