Your First Rheumatology Appointment
If the office sends you paperwork to fill out in advance, have that done and bring it with you. If not, be prepared to fill out an extensive questionnaire prior to your visit. Plan to arrive fifteen minutes earlier than you are told. Traffic and parking are sometimes issues that can’t be avoided.
Bring with you:
Your driver’s license, insurance card, co-pay and calendar. The address and phone number of your employer and/or spouse’s employer if insurance is provided through spouse.
Notes on your medical history including dates of hospitalizations, ER visits, and past surgeries.
A detailed medication list.
A list of your doctors including addresses and phone numbers.
The name, phone and fax numbers for your pharmacy.
Copies of labs, x-rays and other studies already performed by your Primary Care Physician.
A list of your current symptoms. It may be helpful to think about and include causative factors and therapies which are helpful in relieving those symptoms.
The first appointment belongs to the Rheumatologist. It is the time when he/she gathers information about you to help him/her make decisions about which diagnostic studies to run. Make sure you are well hydrated as it is not uncommon for them to draw a dozen or more vials of blood from you. You will make a follow-up appointment to go over these test results and that will be your opportunity to ask questions and work with him/her to make a treatment plan specific for you and your individual issues. Based on results, he/she may also refer you to other specialists for more investigative studies.