The 10 Secrets for Maximizing Any Doctor's Visit

How to be a super savvy and wildly efficient patient.

Suffice it to say, a lot fewer men would put off going to the doctor if we didn't have to wait so long to actually see one. ERs are jammed, specialists are booked, and office visits are almost guaranteed to run on a 2-hour delay. Here are the smartest ways to ensure you get service faster. And remember, your best medicine usually preventative, so learn the 100 Best Ways to Be Healthier Man Every Single Day.

Part One: The Emergency Room

Don't "wait and see"

The quietest hours at any hospital are 7 to 9 a.m. It gets progressively busier from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. If you have any control over it whatsoever, try to be an early bird. And if you're set on avoiding the hospital altogether, here's how to Score Your Own Private Doctor.

Call your doctor ahead of time

On your way to the ER, call your physician; he'll alert the ER that you're en route and pull your records. This expedites the interview, says Claire M. Young, R.N., chief nursing officer at the Cleveland Clinic.

Mention "chest pains"

If you feel you may be having a heart attack, mention chest pains or shortness of breath even if you no longer have these symptoms upon arrival, says Sheldon Jacobson, M.D., chair of emergency medicine at New York City's Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. This will garner attention. Also, here are the 10 Surefire Signs Your Heart is Super Strong.

Write down your doses

Be prepared when the nurse asks about medication allergies and current drugs. Have the information in writing. In fact, bring your prescriptions to the hospital, which will save you plenty of time. And don't miss our collection of 52 Super-Fast Health Boosters.

Part Two: The Family Doctor

Schedule early

Snag the first visit of the day or the first one after lunch. Avoid anything from 10:30 a.m. to noon or after 2:30, the busiest times, according to Mark Miller, administrator at Brigham and Women's Hospital Orthopedic and Arthritis Center, in Boston.

Avoid Mondays

Those who got sick over the weekend flood in. School breaks are also high-volume periods. But once you're there, always remember the 9 Medical Tests You Should Always Demand from Your Doctor.

Have your annual in July

People vacation. Kids are at camp. The doctor's office is a relative, stress-free ghost town. (Bonus: here are the Biggest Male Stressors—Conquered!)

Part Three: The Specialist

Charm your way in

To get bumped to the top of a specialist's appointment list or to book a visit that fits your schedule, get cozy with the nurses and staff at your regular doctor's office. When you have an urgent medical problem, ask them to call the specialist's office.

If the top doc is busy, try a deputy

The specialist's midlevel practitioners—physician associate, advanced practiced nurse—may have freer schedules. And once you're in the office, you're in the office. If it's a complex problem, the associate will bring in the doctor.

Be a pest

Schedules can open up with little notice. Best time to call to check is at 10 a.m. Just like with airline employees, the squeaky wheel always gets the grease. So be kind but relentless.

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