Thank you for choosing HeartPlace for your cardiovascular care. We know that coming to a cardiologist's office for the first time can be associated with anxiety and uncertainty. We also know that your time is important to you, and that you would welcome opportunities to limit repeat visits where possible. With these ideas in mind, this section of our web site is directed to new patients to our clinics so that the first meeting may be as efficient, productive and reassuring as possible. What follows is a series of suggestions that may help make your appointment the most meaningful.
Before Your Appointment
- Fill out and return the Authorization for Release of Medical Records to HeartPlace form
- Fill out the HeartPlace Patient Registration form
- Completely fill out the New Patient Medical Questionnaire form
- Please notify the office as soon as possible if you need to cancel or reschedule an appointment.
Doing a little pre-appointment homework will save you time and limit delays in your evaluation and treatment. You can download the Authorization for Release of Medical Records patient form from the Patient Forms section of our web site, and fill in the necessary information. You can then return it to the appropriate HeartPlace office and we will begin the process of retrieving your relevant medical records that will help us provide you with the best care. It is surprising how long it takes to retrieve medical records because of privacy regulations (a week or more), so the sooner you can get us the signed Release, the better. It is also helpful if you contact your physician's office directly to ask that the records be faxed over as well, emphasizing the timing of your upcoming appointment.
Additionally, you may also download, fill out, and return the Patient Registration form, also found on the Patient Forms section to the left. This could save you 5-10 minutes, even if you just fill it out and bring it with you to your appointment.
Finally, make sure to take the time to completely fill out, to the best of your abilities, the New Patient Medical Questionnaire form found on the Patient Forms section. Doing so before your appointment, as opposed to waiting until you arrive, will go a long way in limiting your time spent in the Waiting Room filling out forms. Many patients also tend to remember more important pertinent facts concerning their medical history if they have time to complete the form in an un-rushed environment, in the comfort of their homes.
What to Bring
- Insurance Card & Photo ID
- Physician Referral, if needed
- HeartPlace Patient Registration Form, completed
- New Patient Medical Questionnaire Form, completed
- Old Medical Records, in your possession
- Recent Lab Results, in your possession
- All Medications and Supplements, in their original containers
- Any home blood pressure and weight charts
Always bring your insurance card to each visit to the clinic. Even if you had downloaded and returned the Patient Registration form with the same information, it is a good practice to develop and bring this very important piece of information with you at each encounter. Remember to bring the HeartPlace Patient Registration form and the New Patient Medical Questionnaire form, both fully completed. If you happen to have a copy of medical records with you in your possession, bring them with you as well, or better yet, fax a copy to the office before your appointment. If you bring them, alert the front office staff at the beginning of your visit, so that a copy may be made before seeing the doctor. Likewise, if you have a copy of recent lab results (last 12 months), forward a copy before your visit, or bring them with you. Ideally, you should physically bring with you all medications and supplements that you take for our review. One of the biggest sources of medical errors today is miscommunication concerning medication profiles, with often-serious consequences. For this reason, the actual medication and supplement containers are preferred. If this is impossible, a medication and supplement list is the next best thing. The medication list should reflect the exact name, dosage, and prescriptive instruction written on the medication or supplement container. The reason why the medication containers themselves are preferred to lists is because these lists are frequently inaccurate or incomplete, failing to reflect medication changes made by other physicians, or generic substitutions by well-meaning pharmacists.
Patients occasionally lose a medication bottle and fail to recognize that the medicine is missing. Since a health care provider has not made a change to their "medication list", they think the list is an accurate reflection of what they are taking, when in fact, it is not.
For these reasons medication reconciliation is best performed with the actual medication and supplement containers themselves. Though, again, if this is impossible, a list is the next most preferred way of reconciling the individual medication profile.
What to Wear
If the reason for your visit is for a specific test, in general, you should wear a two-piece loose fitting clothing. Please see the link Pre-Test Instructions for specific clothing instructions for particular tests. If the reason for your appointment is a consultation only, any outfit is appropriate. Though if you come dressed for testing, you will be giving the physician the option to perform a test right then if a slot is available.
What to Expect
The first visit is always the one associated with the most anxiety and uncertainty. Upon your arrival, you will first want to check-in with the receptionist. If you hadn't already downloaded and filled the Patient Registration form and the New Patient Medical Questionnaire form, you will be asked to do so at this time. Depending upon the reason for your appointment, you may be asked to review and sign a consent form for testing purposes, or fill out a Heart History Questionnaire for a Consultation. Next, you will be brought back by a member of the clinical staff (R.N., P.A., or Medical Assistant) to an exam room, where you will be weighed and vital signs assessed (heart rate and blood pressure). The nurse may then ask some clarifying questions about the Heart Health Questionnaire. If you are having testing only done, it would probably be one of the test technicians who would accompany you to the echo or stress lab from the waiting room (see Pre-Test Instructions). For consultations, an EKG would be done next at this point, and after a brief period of time, your meeting with the physician would take place. This would involve a review of your medical history, your Heart Health Questionnaire, any medical records and lab results that have been collected, and a physical exam. Further testing may be ordered at this time as a part of this visit, or for another day. You will have the opportunity, at this point, to pose any questions that you may have concerning your evaluation and management.
Hopefully, the above instructions have gone a long way in relieving any stress and uncertainty you may have with your first visit to one of our offices. If you have any further questions, please contact the appropriate HeartPlace office.