Maximizing Your Doctor's Appointment: Insights from Dr. Tyler Ellington

Visiting the doctor can sometimes feel overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. Understanding how to make the most out of your time with your physician can greatly impact the quality of care you receive. Dr. Tyler Ellington, a seasoned cardiologist at the Oklahoma Heart Institute, shared invaluable insights into preparing for a doctor's appointment.

What Information Matters Most?

Dr. Ellington emphasizes the importance of coming prepared. Medication lists or actual pill bottles are gold standards for an accurate medication review. “Using the medicines that are in your cabinet, bringing them in a sack, that's what people should consider being the gold standard for an accurate medication review,” Dr. Ellington said. Often, relying solely on medical records can lead to missed updates from other healthcare systems.

Key Strategies to Optimize Time with Your Doctor

One key strategy is arriving with written questions and concerns. But even before that, understanding why you're visiting the doctor is crucial. Whether it's a patient-requested or doctor-scheduled visit, knowing the purpose ensures a more productive discussion. "There's the kind of visit where the patient wanted to be seen, and there's a kind of visit where the doctor wanted to be seen,” Dr. Ellington explained. “It's frustrating for both sides to have a visit where the patient doesn't know why they're in the clinic."

Avoiding Common Mistakes

A prevalent error patients make is not grasping why they've been summoned for an appointment. Understanding the primary concerns or recent health events allows for a more targeted and beneficial conversation.

Preparing for the Appointment

Dressing comfortably and accessibly, bringing along hearing aids or necessary devices and being proactive about notes or an extra person to take notes can enhance your experience.

Questions That Matter

Dr. Ellington highlights essential questions patients have asked, such as understanding medication timing, potential side effects and what to expect during tests.

What Doctors Wish Patients Would Do

Clarity in setting the agenda for the visit, particularly in specialty care, helps doctors provide focused and effective care. It's equally crucial to disclose all relevant information without straying into irrelevant medical topics.

Should You Disclose Everything?

Being open and honest about drug usage, sexual activity or gender identity is crucial. Doctors are there to provide care, not judgment. “Be honest with your doctor if you use drugs that are illegal,” Dr. Ellington advised. “We're not trying to get you in trouble. We're trying to take care of you."

Additional Tips and Considerations

Dr. Ellington recommends taking medications on the day of the appointment and monitoring vital signs like blood pressure at home. He also stresses the importance of an accurate medical history, clear communication about doctors and past treatments and considerations for different appointment times based on individual needs.


Preparing for a doctor's appointment isn't just about showing up; it's about arriving armed with relevant information and clear expectations. Dr. Ellington's insights can significantly enhance your next visit, ensuring a more fruitful conversation and better care overall.

The goal is simple: Arrive prepared to make the most of your valuable time with your healthcare provider.