Nikki Jong

7 Ways to Optimize Your Next Doctor Visit


Visiting the doctor doesn’t have to be an unpleasant experience. Some thoughtful preparation will go a long way toward making your experience less stressful and more productive. Preparing for a doctor’s visit is a vital step in partnering with your health care provider and becoming an active participant in your own health care, and a good provider will welcome your active participation.

Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to make your visit less stressful and more productive.

1. Make a List

Start by spending a little time preparing for your appointment, just as you would for a business meeting. Preparation is a simple but powerful way to reduce anxiety. So make a list of your most important concerns and think about how you want to describe them. Once you’ve documented your list, move on to the next step: putting your list in order.

2. Prioritize Your Concerns

Rank your list before your appointment. Then, in the office, address your top concerns first. Doing so will ensure that you don’t spend too much of the appointment discussing matters that aren’t as significant to you, or run out of time without getting your critical questions answered or making a decision with your provider.

Tip: Be aware that it might not be possible to cover a long list of concerns during your annual physical. Physicals are full of to-dos–from making sure you’re up-to-date on vaccines and screenings to checking your vital signs and examining your organ systems. If you’d like to address several other specific problems, you might need to make a separate appointment.

One Medical Group provider Andrew Diamond, MD offers his perspective: “The important thing is that you and your provider decide the direction of each particular visit together. Based on your health history or your test results, your provider might have a slightly different set of priorities to work on, but the goal is to spend the first few minutes of the visit collaborating and coming up with a shared agenda.”

3. Prepare to Share

At One Medical, we don’t require that you send over your past medical records before your first visit. The best way for your provider to get a full picture of your health is by examining you and talking to you, so be prepared to share your basic health history. If you have a complex health history, bring the names and addresses of your other physicians so that your provider can request records afterward if necessary.

If you’re in the habit of researching your health questions online, we encourage you to come in and discuss your findings with us. Not all of the information you’ll find online is accurate or trustworthy, so bring a printout or email your provider a link and we’ll review the source and the details.

Tip: Two excellent sites for researching your health questions are Mayo Clinic and UpToDate.

Finally, when you see a specialist, be sure to ask that person to stay in touch with your primary care provider. If your specialist has a recommendation, it’s important for your primary care provider to know so he or she can help you meet your health goals.

4. Deal with Paperwork Early

If you have any requests that require paperwork–for example, you’re joining the Peace Corps, you’re going on state disability, or you’re in need of a handicapped placard–let your provider know early in the visit. Lengthy paperwork often requires your input, too, so plan for enough time during the visit to fill in the vital information.

Tip: Most doctors’ offices also recommend that you don’t leave prescription renewals until the last few minutes of the appointment. But if you’re a One Medical patient, the most efficient way to renew your prescription medications is online. To get started, log in and click on Prescription Renewals.

5. Understand Your Insurance

You can save yourself a lot of trouble by understanding the basics of your coverage. Knowing these things ahead of time will help your doctor get through the necessary paperwork more quickly and efficiently, which means that your follow-up care won’t be delayed:

  • Whether you have an HMO, PPO, or POS plan (or something different)
  • How much your deductible and co-payments are (if applicable), and whether your insurer covers lab fees and other tests
  • Whether you need pre-authorization from your provider in order to see a specialist, including routine visits to gynecologists, psychiatrists, dermatologists, or ophthalmologists
  • Whether your insurance covers complementary and alternative medicine such as chiropractic or acupuncture

Tip: Don’t forget to bring your insurance card to your first visit. Don’t have health insurance? One Medical service pricing is listed on our website for your convenience.

6. Get to Know Your Practice

Every medical group functions differently. At One Medical, we use technology to make your life easier. Here are a few ways we make managing your health more convenient:

  • Book appointments and request prescription renewals online or via our mobile app.
  • Email your provider for routine requests; you can typically expect a response within 24 hours.
  • Don’t worry about getting blood tests or screenings before your appointment–we prefer that you wait and see what your provider recommends
  • Skip the office appointment for simple needs like travel vaccines or recurring urinary tract infections. If you’re ever in doubt about what you need to come in for, give us a call. 

7. Find the Right Fit

You should leave your provider’s office feeling like your concerns were heard and acknowledged. Together, you and your provider should come up with a health care plan that feels like the right fit for your needs. If you don’t “click,” we encourage you to try other providers in our group. Go to and click Meet our Physicians to get a sense of their different specialties and areas of interest.

Related Posts:


  1. Megan Veneracion says:

    Hi There

    I just recently (yesterday!) signed up with your group and booked an appointment. I had a procedure done at UCSF and have bloodwork that needs to be done.

    Can i come in to any of your locations and have them done? Do i need to make an appointment?

    Thank you!
    Megan Veneracion

  2. Editor says:

    Hi Megan,

    Welcome to One Medical! Please check out our website for lab hours at the location that’s most convenient for you — as a member, you can go to any location you like, and you don’t need to make an appointment if you go during lab hours. Here’s a link to our San Francisco locations: Please call or email us at admin if you have further questions!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Does your office provide the Western Blot test for herpes testing? I had a low positive IGG Herpeselect through another doctor and a negative BiokitUSA. I would really just like a final word.


  4. Editor says:


    Thanks for your question. If you don’t have any symptoms, you should talk to your provider about whether serologic testing is the right choice for you. There are limitations, including a high false positive rate. (A positive test may indicate infection or may be a false positive.) If you do determine that it’s the right choice, we can order a Western Blot. Please call or email us at admin @ if you have further questions and we’d be happy to help.

  5. rfm says:

    are you taking medicare patients with BC/BS supplemental?

  6. Bruce says:

    Your website touts “same day appointments” in multiple places, but fails to state you can’t get into see your primary physician. False advertising. I used to be able to see my primary within one or two days when I first joined, now it’s at least a week, if not more. My last visit with someone else was not satisfactory.

    So much for “concierge” services. If I did not like my doctor so much, I would gladly pay more and move elsewhere.

    • Hey Bruce,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry to hear about your experience. I talked with my team and it looks like you’re already in touch with my coworker Jinx, your personal patient advocate, to look into this further for you. Feel free to reach out to me at anytime if you need a second point of contact at community [at] onemedical [dot]com. Thanks.

      Best regards,
      Kameron Kitajima
      Community Manager – One Medical Group

  7. Melissa says:

    Do you have weekend and evening appointments?

    • Hey Melissa,

      Great question! Some of our offices have weekend and evening hours. Best thing to do is to give us a call (202-660-0005) or check the website to see our available hours.

      One of the many benefits of being a member of One Medical is our virtual care services. You can email or call us at any time—our team can answer questions you may have even when our offices are not open.

      Kameron Kitajima
      Community Manager
      One Medical Group

  8. R Whitney says:

    Does New York OneMedical accept Medicare (with supplementary coverage)?

    • Hey there,

      We accept most major insurance plans including Medicare. You can read more about the insurance plans we work with on our website here. Best thing to do is to give us a ring at 212-530-0624, we can talk with you in more detail and make sure we work with your specific health plan. We’d be more than happy to help!

      Kameron Kitajima
      Community Manager
      One Medical Group

      • R Whitney says:

        Thanks. I had visited the page you provided before asking; it has no mention of Medicare, though it does have UHC (my supplemental coverage). You might want to update the coverage page?

        • Thanks for following up–we mention Medicare in the first sentence of the insurance page.

          “One Medical Group accepts health plans offered by most major insurance carriers, including the ones listed below and Medicare.

          Give us a call if you want to discuss further about how we work with Medicare!

          Kameron Kitajima
          Community Manager
          One Medical Group

  9. Cassandra says:


    I have a credit card linked to my FSA account. Can I use this to pay my membership fee? Thanks!

    • Hey Cassandra,

      Thanks for your question. In some cases, you can pay your yearly membership fee with your FSA card but depends on your specific FSA provider. Give us a call at 212-530-0624. We’d be more than happy to look into this request for you.

      Best regards,
      Kameron Kitajima
      Community Manager
      One Medical Group

Add your comments...