Preparing for Your Appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

To help ensure that your experience is positive, the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology offers the following tips to prepare for your appointment.

Appointment time

It is important that you arrive on time for your appointment so that we have time to gather important health information prior to the doctor's evaluation.

Review of symptoms

Be prepared to discuss your symptoms with your doctor. Write down a list of questions you may have:

  • What is your main symptom/concern?
  • How long have you had it?
  • How often and when does it occur?
  • What makes it better or worse (e.g., activity, medication, stress)?
  • Is it associated with other symptoms?
  • Have other people in your family experienced similar health problems?
  • Has this problem been addressed by another physician or medical center?

Items to bring to your appointment

Please bring your Mayo Clinic registration number with you if you were given one at the time of registration.

It is best to bring your bottles of medications, if possible, along with a list of your medications, including the name and dose of each one. You will also need to bring information on any vitamins/dietary supplements and over-the-counter medications that you take.

You will need to bring all medical information with you that is pertinent to your visit, including:

  • Medical records (written reports): Doctor's notes, laboratory test results, hospital admission and discharge summaries, surgical reports, pathology and cytology reports, x-ray reports, cardiology reports, and any additional written information that pertains to your visit.
  • X-rays: Bring actual films and CDs of test(s) related to your visit. Examples may include, CT scan of the abdomen, ultrasounds, ERCP scans, MRI scans and x-rays.
  • Pathology Slides: If you have had biopsies performed that are related to your visit you will need to bring the actual glass biopsy slides with you. You will need to contact the medical center that performed the biopsies to get the glass slides.
  • Note: You may be asked to send or fax this information prior to your visit. If you have already received an envelope containing medical information from your local health care provider, please confirm that all of this information is included (if applicable).

If you have an advance directive or living will it is important that you bring a copy with you for your physician to review. It will then be placed in your medical record.

If possible, please bring a letter from your doctor that summarizes your medical condition(s) or issues to be addressed by Mayo Clinic.

If you were asked to complete any forms prior to your visit please bring them with you. Forms may include the "Current Visit Information" and "Patient Family History". These forms should not be mailed in, as this may result in a delay in your appointment or the need to complete the forms a second time.

Please bring the name, address, and telephone number of your referring physician and your local physician (if applicable). This is necessary if you want them to be included on correspondences, including summary letters from Mayo.

You will need your insurance information and Medicare card (if applicable). You will also need to bring a written authorization of referral from your Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) if you have either type of health insurance coverage.

Other points

  • Most patients can receive their care in 3 to 5 days. Depending on the complexity of your condition, it may take longer. If surgery is required, your stay will definitely be longer.
  • Parking passes are available to visitors of Mayo Clinic. Passes can be purchased from the parking attendants at the patient ramps.
  • The subway level of the Mayo complex offers a patient cafeteria, newsstand, pharmacy, handicapped restrooms, and a quiet lounge for your convenience. You will also find a hearing aid center. The Mayo Store provides medical supplies and gift items. Subway and skyways are easily accessible and are connected with multiple buildings in the Mayo complex, as well as hotel and shopping areas. See Becoming a Patient section of the website.