A Direct Primary Care Doctor’s Guide to a Successful Appointment

Recently, the New York Times published a doctor-written guide for a good appointment and how to make the most of your face-to-face time with your doctor. While there are certain factors that the doctor addresses that don’t apply to a direct primary care doctor, such as only having 10 minutes or less with the doctor and how to budget out of pocket costs, I do want to share some of the tips that will help any patient have a successful and empowering appointment.

Be sure to print out the checklist at the bottom of this page prior to your next appointment!

What to Expect at Your Direct Primary Care Appointment

Patient getting a checkup with a direct primary care physician

With a direct primary care physician, the goal is to provide quality care and foster a doctor-patient relationship. We want your appointment to be thorough with a personalized solution for your health, whether you’re coming in for a checkup or physical or with symptoms due to an acute or chronic condition.


Our patient roster is only about one-fourth the size of a typical patient roster, so we’re able to schedule your appointment sooner and spend more face to face time with you rather than you spending long periods of time in a waiting room. For your initial physical, we recommend blocking out 90 minutes for tests and a thorough medical history, and for treatment of symptoms, set aside up to 60 minutes for your appointment.

Come Prepared

If you’re struggling with a symptom, provide as much information about it as you can, such as when it occurs, if there is a trigger, or if there are multiple symptoms. If it’s your first visit, bring information about your medical history, prescriptions, and any other information we can use to personalize your care.

Ask Questions

If there are several things you want to discuss, it may help you to make a list of topics to bring up. No matter what, we are here to help you feel confident and comfortable in the care you receive and are happy to answer any questions.

If you do get home and think of something you forgot to ask, we’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week via phone, text, or email to answer your questions. However, we know it’s easier for you to ask all your questions or voice concerns at once, and that’s why we recommend writing down what you want to talk about.  

Feel Free to Take Notes

While we’re happy to provide you with any information to take with you or give you additional resources, you may benefit from taking notes. This is especially true if we’re discussing how to manage a chronic condition or lifestyle changes where there is a lot of information you may need to reference when you leave the office. Plus, taking notes may help you think of questions or address other concerns while we’re in the exam room with you.

Know Your Plan

Whether we discuss overall health or an acute issue like an ear infection, it’s important to leave the office knowing your plan going forward and feeling confident in your care. If something doesn’t make sense at the time or you have concerns, just ask! We’re here for you, to help you live your healthiest life, so even if you get home and feel confused about a prescription or forgot something, give us a call (919) 214-2175.

Print out this convenient checklist for your next visit to your direct primary care doctor!