Medical consultation, Patient's preparation 4.74/5 (23)

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Medical consultation
Medical Consultation: Prepare to meet your doctor before going to rheumatic examination

Prepare yourself

Some want the doctor to manage the entire consultation and decide what the doctor thinks is best. Others want to have as much control and self-determination as possible. The development is in the direction of the patient being informed to a greater extent about the diseases and then actively participating in decisions themselves. The need for patient information about disease, investigation and treatment is therefore increasing. Please note, however, that the consultation time is limited. You must be given time to present the most important things and the doctor must have time to examine and inform you of the assessment at the end.

Three advice for doctor consultation

Your preparation is important. The specialist has disease information about you from the past. At the first meeting, there is usually a referral letter from the GP with a summary of what the referring doctor considers to be relevant. For later checks, the doctor will have information from earlier available via your medical record. However, not all information is up to date. To get the most out of your time with the doctor, you should prepare well. At the very least, you should prepare three things:

  1. Think it out up to three important disease-related issues that you want the doctor to consider. Tell about these early in the consultation (for example: your main symptom, concern about possible disease development/prognosis, treatment option you have read/heard about).
  2. Bring a list of all the drugs you are currently using and any drug allergies.
  3. Before check-ups, you should prepare for the doctor to ask you what is new about your health since the last time (illnesses, treatments, examinations).

What the doctor asks for?

During the doctor's consultation, the specialist in rheumatology (the rheumatologist) will hear about your current main health problem and especially about rheumatic symptoms. Further examinations and assessments can partly be guided by what you say, but the doctor will ask more questions and perhaps carry out examinations such as checking joints and internal organs. Common questions that the rheumatologist may ask you are:

  • What is your biggest health problem at the moment?
  • What rheumatic symptoms do you have now (pain, stiffness, visible changes in joints, back, muscles and tendons)?
  • When did the symptoms begin?
  • Have you had similar before?
  • Do you have symptoms from internal organs (lungs, heart, kidneys, bowel)?
  • Eczema or other skin symptoms?
  • What medical examinations/investigations of blood and urine, X-rays, CT, MRI and specialist assessments have been carried out for the symptoms in question so far? When was it (year)? Where (GP, specialist, hospital)? What did the results show?
    • If blood and/or urine samples have recently been taken at the GP (or others), you can bring a printout. If new samples are to be taken, you can bring a urine sample (preferably morning urine) in a clean glass. For blood tests, you usually do not need to fast. Take your medication in the morning as usual unless otherwise agreed.
  • What other diseases have you / have had (high blood pressure, heart failure, blood clot, spontaneous miscarriages, low metabolism, diabetes, cancer, mental health problems ...)?
  • Have you been examined in hospitals (why, where and when)?
  • The medications you are currently using (show list)
  • Drug allergy and other allergies?
  • Stable weight last 3 months (and your weight now)?
  • If you have recently changed your GP, you must let us know so that the doctor's report can be sent there.
  • If you need new prescriptions, medical reports or want to discuss something else that will take some time, you should mention this early in the consultation.


Some doctors (and nurses) use ready-made questionnaires in addition to the medical consultation to map the number of swollen and tender joints and then calculate a measure of disease activity in arthritis (for example DAS scores). This applies most to research studies. Pain also affects the result that must be interpreted with caution and always linked to overall health. In case of joint disease it is therefore important to evaluate symptoms also beyond joints (eyes, mouth, lungs, heart, stomach / intestine, skin, nerves).

If you are going to start with new medicines

If you have not received information, you should ask about this:

  1. Do I need this treatment?
  2. What are the risks and side effects?
  3. Is there an alternative?
  4. What happens if I do not start treatment?

Report / epic

Usually, a report from the consultation will be sent to the referring doctor and to the GP. You can also request a copy, but please be aware that the report is in technical language which may be difficult to understand. If you are in doubt about the content, you can ask your GP or ask at your next rheumatologist consultation. Obvious errors in the report should be reported to the specialist via the contact information that must be found on your summons letter. You can also read reports in My Journal via Health Norway.


Not everyone needs control with a specialist, but by active inflammation or the use of immunosuppressive drugs recommended specialist controls in addition to the GP`s follow-up.

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