Data Driven Docs- Part 5: The Checklist

The Data Driven Docs article series has centered around patient safety and ensuring the actions of physicians and other healthcare providers (HCP) meet standards of care. Here is the long awaited patient safety checklist. Feel free to cut out a copy and take it to your next appointment!

Before your appointment:

I made my appointment with an accurate description of the problem(s) I want to address. (All of them… If you have any problems listed, the appointment shouldn’t be for a wellness exam).

If my appointment is for a problem, I have written down my symptoms, the timing and onset, and what I have done to try to make it better. (Include info/results from other docs or healthcare providers if you can.)

I have a written list of my medications, supplements, and surgeries that I will bring to my appointment.

During your appointment:

  • My doc/HCP is aware of the studies on bacterial transmission via clothing and wears a bow tie or tucked in tie. His sleeves (if present) are rolled to mid-arm.
  • I observe my doctor washing or sanitizing their hands prior to touching me. If not, I ask if they have!
  • My doctor looks at and discusses my vital signs with me. If I am obese or overweight, she counsels me on weight loss. If I am a smoker, he counsels me on smoking cessation and asks me about a quit date.
  • My doc/HCP addresses the problem(s) for which I made the appointment.
  • I understand the explanations and instructions or ask for clarification.

After your appointment:

  • I receive a written or verbal report of any tests or procedures ordered. If not, I call the office to request the results.
  • I follow my doctor’s instructions.
  • I make a follow-up appointment as necessary and plan to keep it.

Checklist or no, please keep the above bullet points in mind at your future appointments. Do your homework before your appointment. Hold your doc/HCP accountable for wellness counseling and follow their advice. Above all, get involved in your healthcare. Our medical community depends on your involvement for survival!


Disclaimer: Dr Stephen Rath, MD, DABA is a board certified anesthesiologist, Air Force flight surgeon, paramedic, and pilot as well as the owner and medical director of Fusion Medical Spa located in Ruidoso, NM. He firmly believes that the quality of healthcare will decline as long as the community fails to get involved. Comments or questions? His email address is: