Don't have a trusted physician? Now is the time to meet your match.

Try these organizations to find a doctor in your area:
What you need to do before your first appointment
Smart patients bone up on all the latest research about their condition. Most find their health information on the Internet because the resources and access available are, to put it mildly, staggeringly awesome. But be careful—you can't count on all the info to be reliable.

Here are some of the best health-research websites:

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
This website, although aimed primarily at healthcare professionals, has some health information for consumers as well.

American Medical Association
The American Medical Association's website includes stories about medical issues and news
and lets you search for doctors by name or medical specialty.

CDC Health Topics A to Z
This section of the Centers for Disease Control site includes information about infectious diseases, which the CDC studies.

Center for Drug Evaluation and Research
This site, part of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, includes information about prescription and over-the-counter drugs, drug safety and links to major drug-information pages.

National Library of Medicine
You'll find links to sites, resources and databases that you can use to research health conditions and diseases.

National Women's Health Information Center
The site includes health information specifically for women. It also focuses on minority health and has dozens of articles in Spanish.

How to keep track of your conditions
No matter what your ailment or condition that is leading you to see your doctor, start writing.

Keep track your symptoms with this printable journal. PDF

Be prepared to tell your doctor the following:
  • What caused this?
  • When was it diagnosed?
  • How are you treating it?
  • Has it gotten better or worse?
  • When did it first begin to noticeably improve or worsen?
  • What makes it better?
  • What makes it worse?
8 ways to remake yourself into a smart patient


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