Top Doctors 2013
An exhaustive listing of the very best physicians in southwest Missouri, as chosen by their peers.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.
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Be Your Own Medical Scribe
Ever wonder if you should be taking notes at your doctor appointments, or which medical records you should have copies of? You’re not alone. We took some of the most frequently asked medical questions to Dr. Tim Fursa, CoxFamily Medicine Residency Program Director, to get answers to these common, often overlooked medical quandaries, and learned about CoxHealth Express—an online tool to help you manage your medical records.
Q: What files or records should patients keep?
A: They should always have a complete list of current meds, the doses, the frequency and reason why they’re taking those meds. They should also keep a list of any surgeries they’ve had, any diagnostic testing they’ve had done within the last five years (like MRIs, CT scans and stress tests), any recent hospitalizations and why, any routine screening tests like mammograms, pelvic exams and cholesterol tests.
Q: What should patients get screened for or have tested regularly?
A: This is a controversial topic since there are a lot of varying views on this. My advice is to always talk with your doctor about which tests you should have done. But if you want to do some research on your own, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org) is a good site to visit. They use evidence-based research to determine which tests people should have. But once you’ve done your research, it’s still best to discuss with a family doctor about which screening tests are appropriate for you.
Q: Which records should patients take with them when switching to a new doctor?
A: Patients should request a copy of their medical records to be transferred from their old doctor to their new doctor. Each clinic should have a form to fill out for this, and patients can even fill these out at their new doctor’s office. But it’s not a bad idea for patients to keep a record for themselves.
Q: Should patients take notes during a doctor’s appointment?
A: Yes, definitely take notes. This is so important, especially now that treatment plans can be so complicated for patients, and it’s hard to memorize everything the doctor says. Because treatment plans can often require a change in diet, lifestyle and/or exercise, it is really important people have a clear understanding and a copy of the doctor’s instructions. Often the doctor will print out their recommendations, and patients can always request this if they wish. Another key recommendation I can make is to be sure patients work with their physician to come up with treatment plans that work best for the patient. If you can’t afford something, tell the doctor.
Q: Are there any online tools to help patients manage all their medical information?
A: Ask your physician to see if their office offers anything like this, but these tools are becoming more popular. CoxHealth uses CoxHealth Express, which is an online tool where patients can schedule appointments, renew prescriptions, message their physician and keep track of their lab work. So if you wanted immunization records for your kids or for yourself, or if you wanted to look back on a lab result or compare blood sugar or cholesterol levels, you can do all that online. There’s even a secure inbox that allows patients to message their doctor with questions about prescriptions or health issues or even billing questions.