Patient Journey

  • Home
  • My Medical Journey
  • Better Diagnosis
  • Back

My Medical Journey


You are visiting a doctor because you have some new symptoms or an old ailment is not getting treated. Before you visit the doctor you need to prepare yourself to be able to explain your problem very briefly and accurately and also be prepared with questions that are in your mind. 

Since you’re already unwell, you may not be able to state everything from your memory.

Typically you should carry the following with you.

  • Write down all the symptoms, the frequency, the time it happens, intensity, any recent incident that could have caused this
  • Make a list of your previous ailments (medical history) , recent prescriptions, family history if any like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease etc 
  • List of current medications, any allergies
  • Carry your test and diagnostic reports if done in last couple of years

In many cases, before the doctor sees you, the nurse may take measurements of your vitals such as BP, temperature, weight as well as your current and past issues.

You should wear light and easy clothing as you may have to take them off during your physical examination.

It is always recommended to take along with you a caregiver who can help you with filling up forms, making payments, also be with you to make notes on the verbal instructions given by the doctor. Do ask the doctor questions to clarify your doubt like - “Doctor what do you think is wrong with me?” ; prognosis of your illness and treatment; If doctor’s handwriting or prescription is not clear , ask him to clarify. 

You can at times make payment for consultation in advance, this will save your time,.

If you are going to the same hospital share your unique ID. This ID will help your doctor access your past history, reports saved in hospital records. 

RELEVANT LINKS for further reading:

How to prepare for a doctors visit

5 Steps to Becoming a Great Patient :

How To Prepare For Doctors Visit 

How To Keep my Medical records 

Based on your history and physical examination the doctor may also recommend some tests for further investigation. There is no single test out there that can tell you whether or not you have an illness. In most cases, diagnostic testing is used to confirm or rule out diagnosis, and keep track of disease symptoms and progression.

Overtime technology has advanced and many invasive and non- invasive tests have come up which helps the accuracy of the diagnosis. This helps the doctor in avoiding trial and error in determining the right course of treatment. 

Diagnostic testing should follow a logical sequence that either confirms the diagnosis or excludes it.

Some tests may be expensive and even invasive like angiography or endoscopy. Do ask your doctor of the risks and for any alternative diagnostic test that can be undertaken. Over time these tests are becoming safer and help in early diagnosis and treatment. 

RELEVANT LINKS for further reading:

Why is Diagnostic Testing Essential 

Screening Tests For Common Therapies 

Benefits and Risks of Diagnostic Tests 

There are a large number of Labs and diagnostic centres to choose from. .You need to carefully select the diagnostic facility given the importance of the quality and accuracy of the tests as well as the interpretation and reporting by the pathologist/ radiologist.

While you will select the lab which is close to your residence and also how soon they can give the reports, It is safer to go to a NABL/NABH accredited facility. NABL/NABH accreditation should be displayed at the lab and you can always ask them to show you. The reports will also state that if it is NABL accreditation.

NABL regulates and standardises the quality assurance of particular lab tests. It lays down strict protocols to be followed. The more number of years the Lab has been accredited the more reliable and accurate It is likely to be.

Normally for blood samples,you could ask for home collection as well.

RELEVANT LINKS for further reading:

How do I select my Diagnostic lab

Factors to Consider in Choosing a Testing Laboratory

To get accurate results many diagnostic tests need certain preparation For example you may be asked to fast for12 hours. In some cases you might have to stop certain medicines which may influence the test results. It is important that use ask the diagnostic lab for what all precautions / preparations you need to make.

 Many tests may take a long time and you may have to be sedated in some cases. It would be good if a caretaker was accompanying you. You may also have to carry your breakfast If you are going fasting. In most good facilities though they try and provide you with appropriate food. 

 Always wear lose clothes to facilitate the tests.

How Do I prepare for tests

Do's and Don'ts for patients visiting hospitals 

Diagnostics technologies are improving every day, which leads to increased quality assurance and decrease in the time duration of the test results. 

However all aspects of the diagnostic process are vulnerable to error causing Delayed Diagnosis, Missed guidance or Incorrect Diagnosis

Many times the test reports or the interpretation of data goes wrong. The tests involve medical equipment, chemicals and reagents, graphic imaging and interpretation of the data that the tests generate. Most of these equipment’s have frequent calibrations process but they get missed. The tests can also give wrong results if pre-test precautions were not taken by patients or by diagnostic labs . Errors by diagnostic labs ends up being a costly affair to the health of the patients considering the risks it poses to them.

False reports can lead to misdiagnosis which further complicates the situation as it can delay the treatment or lead to wrong treatment administered by the doctor. . However accredited labs follow standard process and the errors are minimised.

Patients at times are not getting the necessary tests done due to lack of money, remoteness, illiteracy, travel constraints or a limited number of health care facilities.

 RELEVANT LINKS for further reading

Causes of diagnostic errors 

How to know if your diagnosis is right or wrong