6 tips to remember doctor appointments

remember doctor's appointments-positive peers

You look at your phone and start feeling panicky. Your doctor’s appointment was two hours ago.

Don’t feel bad. We all have trouble remembering doctor’s appointments. None of us are perfect.

It’s not a big deal if someone with a sprained ankle or runny nose misses an appointment, but living with HIV is a little different. If you’re HIV positive, it’s important to keep seeing your doctors regularly.

How do you make sure you remember your next doctor’s appointment? Try these tips:

remember doctor's appointments-positive peers

1. Expect to forget your appointments

Scientists and researchers have looked into why people don’t show up for their doctor’s appointments. One study in England found out that about one-third of the no-shows just plain forgot about their appointments.

That tells us forgetting happens all the time — and it’ll probably happen to you at some point. So the next time you get an appointment, take a minute to say to yourself “I have to do something to make sure I won’t forget.”

remember doctor's appointments-positive peers

2. Get some tools to document your appointments

Calendars and notepads are some of the best tools to avoid forgetting your appointments. You can use the calendar app on your smartphone. Positive Peers also has a calendar function, just sayin'. 😉 If you’re using an electronic calendar though, make sure you know where these alerts are going. Positive Peers, for example, will send push notifications to your phone. Other calendar apps, might send you an email reminder instead.

If you’re not a smartphone kind of person, you can use a paper calendar or use sticky notes to put on your mirror. If you’re keeping your status a secret from family or roommates, consider using acronyms to help you remember but not give anything away.

remember doctor's appointments-positive peers

3. Put it in writing as soon as humanly possible

Make a habit of scheduling your next appointment when you’re done with your current one. Make sure the person at the front desk gives you an appointment card to remind you when you get home.

Before you leave the doctor’s office or clinic, make a point of entering the appointment in your calendar or writing it down on a notepad. This simple act of writing it down or entering it in your calendar makes your brain think about the appointment — and this makes it easier to remember later.

remember doctor's appointments-positive peers


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4. Make sure your voicemail is working correctly

Lots of doctor’s offices send out reminders to their patients. At Metro, we offer text message reminders but other places often offer to leave a reminder on your voicemail.

But here’s the catch: You have to have your voicemail set up correctly, and you have to have room for messages on it. 😜 So take some time to figure that out if you haven’t already.

remember doctor's appointments-positive peers

5. Get help from friends or family

If you don't mind some people knowing when you’re going to the doctor, ask them if it’s OK to have them remind you. People who care about you won’t mind helping out — but do your best not to abuse the privilege. People don’t take kindly to being asked too often or to having their reminders ignored.

remember doctor's appointments-positive peers

6. If you’re in the Cleveland area, sign up for Positive Peers

Positive Peers is an awesome program because it’s a community of people who understand your problems and get you. It’s also awesome because it has an appointment reminder feature. If you’re a 13-34 years old MetroHealth patient living with HIV and you’re interested in the app, here’s how you can register.

Bottom line: Getting into a habit of forgetting your doctor’s appointments is dangerous. It threatens your health. So do your best and try out these tips to help you remember your health appointments. 😀 It only takes a few minutes to create a reminder, and it’s worth every second.

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Positive Peers is made possible through a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration, HIV/AIDS Bureau Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) Grant to The MetroHealth System. Click here for more information about the SPNS grant initiative.
Positive Peers is a private app for young people living with HIV. Learn how you can earn rewards for your participation.