New Beginnings Mini-Lesson: Getting Ready for Your Health Care Visit

Key points

  • Many people find it hard to get the information they need to manage their diabetes during their health care visits.
  • Being prepared can help people with diabetes get the most out of their health care visits.
  • This lesson will help participants get ready for visits with their health care team.


Discussion time: 15 minutes

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Identify at least three actions they can take before and during a visit with their health care team.
  • Identify at least three questions they want to ask a health care provider during a visit.


What are some things you could have done differently during that visit so that you got more out of it?

One way to get the most out of your visit is to prepare in advance. The Steps to Help You Stay Healthy handout describes topics to talk about at your next visit.

The Diabetes Care Record and Action Plan has a place to write down test results, goals, and other information. You can review this information with your health care provider and bring this handout with you to each visit.

If you don't want to write down these items on paper, you can use a notes app on your smartphone.

Activity: Think-pair-share

Ask participants to review the handout and think about questions they want to ask their health care provider. They can circle the issues they would like to discuss or write down their questions on the diabetes care record and action plan handout.

Ask participants to pair up with another group member and share their questions.

Ask one person from each group to share their questions.

Tips for getting the most out of your visits

Think about your questions ahead of time. Write them down and give the list to the health care provider at the start of the visit.

Invite a family member or friend to go with you to take notes for you. That way, you can focus on talking with your health care provider.

Bring a list of your medicines and descriptions of how you are taking them. For example, how many pills you take, and at what time of day you take them.

Tell your doctor about any nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal remedies you take.

Be honest. Tell the doctor if you miss taking your pills, how often, and why.

If you record your blood sugar, bring your results to show your doctor.

Ask to have your feet checked.

Talk to your doctor about your ABCs (A1C, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and smoking cessation). Discuss your current levels and your goals. Ask about other tests that are recommended for people with diabetes to have on a regular basis. This includes eye, ear, foot, and dental exams.

Key messages

You are the most important member of your health care team. Health care providers are there to help you manage your diabetes.

You can make the most of your visits with health care providers by getting ready ahead of time. Think about what questions or issues you would like to discuss with your team and write them down. Be sure to bring a list of medicines you're taking and your diabetes self-care records.

Tips for going virtual

Take a few minutes at the beginning of the session to explain the ground rules for virtual sessions. For example:

  • Mute video or phone when not speaking.
  • Say your name before speaking (especially on the phone).
  • Participants are not required to have or use a video camera. They can use a photo of themselves instead.

Discuss if and how group members are engaging with their health care providers through telehealth. Use the interactive whiteboard feature to write down ideas for how to better prepare for telehealth visits.

The video for this mini-lesson can be played by sharing your screen (and computer audio). Another option is to share the links to the videos with your group members by email before the session starts.