Tips For Appointments With The Hepatologist

I want to share a list of tips for appointments with a hepatologist that a patient on another forum posted this week. It is such a comprehensive list that I believe it would be helpful to share with this forum.


  1. Be prepared. Don’t be nervous. Take the time before your appointment to write down all of your medications, any pertinent allergies, a brief medical history, and your chief health concerns. Include the names, addresses, and phone numbers of your primary care provider and any specialists that might be linked to your current medical issue.

  2. Before your appointment, write down your questions and prioritize them.

  3. Maintain copies of your own health records. It can really help expedite matters if you bring copies of your most recent pertinent medical reports.

  4. Make eye contact before speaking to your medical provider. Once you begin speaking, your provider may take notes. This does not mean s/he is not listening.

  5. Before you start with your list of questions, ask how much time the provider has for questions. Respect these limits, and you will benefit in the long run.

  6. Prioritize your health issues. Be brief but clear. Start with the most important details and if there is time, you can add the less important information at the end. If you have any fears or feelings, discuss them.

  7. When describing your symptoms, begin with the general picture and end with the specifics. Example: My stomach hurts. I feel nauseous in the morning.

  8. Ask for clarification. If your doctor uses words or explanations you do not understand, ask him/her to clarify or simplify words.

  9. If you plan to record, be sure to ask the doctor for permission first. Take notes. If the doctor makes suggestions, write them down. Ask him to spell any words you might want to refer to later, such as a diagnosis, medication or procedure. If during the appointment you don’t have time to write everything down, write your notes immediately after while sitting in the lobby.

  10. Take a friend, loved one, or an advocate to your appointment. This is especially important for appointments that may be long, complicated, or not routine. Ask your companion to take notes for you. If it’s alright with your provider, you can also record the appointment.

  11. If medication is prescribed, ask what the common side effects are and how the medication should be taken.

  12. Express any fears or reservations you may have. If your doctor suggests a treatment plan that you have some concerns about, let him/her know. Sometimes these concerns can be easily addressed.

  13. If your doctor makes a treatment suggestion and you have fears or reservations about it, ask about other options.

  14. Keep an open mind. This can be your strongest ally. It is amazing how many people will avoid a medication because of their fear of side effects, only to find out later that the reality was not anywhere near what they imagined.

  15. Ask the physician if there are resources or support groups he/she would recommend.

  16. Discuss the follow-up plan. If you are scheduled to have diagnostic tests, ask the doctor when you can expect the results and how these results are conveyed to you. When does your provider want to see you next? Ask if there are any signs or symptoms that could be urgent and should be reported immediately. Ask if there are any possible symptoms that might become an emergency, and if so, what should you do? If the results are going to be disclosed at your next appointment and if there is going to be a long interval between appointments, ask how you can obtain earlier results. Additionally, ask the physician what is the best way to contact his office should a need arise that may not require an office visit.

  17. If this is a follow-up appointment, ask for copies of diagnostic test results and surgical reports. You should always keep copies of your records filed and in a place where you can review them easily. It also makes it easier to give copies to other health practitioners.

  18. If you run out of time and still have more questions on your list, ask how you might be able to get the answers to your questions without disrupting the physician’s schedule. Ask if you can leave a copy
    of the questions along with the request that they call you back within a specified time frame. Or can they email you with answers to any remaining questions?

  19. Try to get to know other providers in the hepatologist’s office: Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Appointment Coordinators, Technicians, etc. They can be very helpful and supportive.

Original Source -


Thanks Mark this is excellent. I was just sitting here trying to work out my own steps to make the most of an appointment I have on Monday.

Spot on Mark!
This is great advice. I feel bad for those who do not know what to ask, or speak up for getting answers…

Thanks also Mark for your dedication to this cause. I am usually pretty silent on this board, but wanted to say Mark, you are helping so many people wth this disease.
I pray for your health and everyone on this board.
I was diagnosed with PSC and UC in Dec 2017. No symptoms. Just an accidental find. I now eat right, work out hard and feel like a million bucks today, aside from a little arthritus and inflamation . I am 53 and hope the health continues…

Blessings to all!

Thank you for your kind words. It has been such a privilege to be able to serve others who are suffering with the same disease I suffered with for so long. You and I are the same age, I turn 54 next month. I’m glad to know that you are working out hard. This will be so very important as your disease progresses. Core strength is vital I believe to a good outcome from transplant surgery. If there’s anything I can do to help please don’t hesitate to contact me or the others here on this forum. Perhaps one day with more research we will see a cure for PSC. I was asked recently to go as a patient to speak before a number of members of Congress for a special liver day as doctors and patients from across the country will be in Washington DC to lobby for funding for liver research. It’s a real privilege to have been asked, and would you believe this is my first time visiting Washington, so this will be a memorable trip. I hope the quest for a cure for PSC will continue and in time we will see a break through.
Take care.


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