How to Create a Medical Powerpoint

Tablet passed between patient and doctor with text "how to create a medical power point and why you should spoonielifestyle.com"

In one of my earliest posts about how to talk to your doctor and be your own advocate, I go over how to use technology to communicate with your medical team to get the results you need. There I strongly suggest making a medical powerpoint. This post outlines what a medical powerpoint looks like and how you should structure yours.

Why is this useful?

A medical powerpoint keeps you organized – and looking on-point to your doctors. Doctors are people, and people generally have to be won over to gain their respect. It’s easier to negotiate your health, or work with, a doctor who respects you. Communication is smoother.

Not to mention, if you’re feeling really sick, it can be hard to remember what to talk about, or even speak. Having a powerpoint on your smartphone or tablet doing the talking for you can remove large obstacles in communicating with your doctor.

Note: If the doctor refuses to see the powerpoint, read from the powerpoint and go into a monologue.

How to Make a Mobile Powerpoint

  1. You can make a powerpoint on your computer and email yourself, therefore accessing it on your smartphone.
  2. You can create a Keynote powerpoint on your iPhone and access the powerpoint on your smartphone.
  3. You can create a powerpoint on your tablet using Keynote, Powerpoint, Amazon Docs, or another app.
  4. You can email your powerpoint to your tablet from your computer.

Title Slide

Have the doctor’s specialty, date of the appointment, doctor’s name, and your name. This is to improve organization. Save the powerpoint as the doctor’s specialty and the date of the appointment.

Updates from your medical team

If you’ve been to any other appointments, had labs done, tests run (such as MRIs and CAT scans) even if they were duds, put them here. This will be an ongoing, ever-growing list of slides.

Current Issues/Symptoms

These are symptoms you’ve experienced in the past 2 weeks. Bold new symptoms you haven’t seen before.

Timeline

This is your most important slide. Timing is crucial to a diagnosis as it reveals whether a pattern of events caused the illness and what, as well as duration of time. Try to keep this to 1-2 slides.

Symptoms

These are the overarching symptoms you have been experiencing chronically over time. If a symptom has lasted more than 3 months, put it here.

If you are experiencing pain, try to figure out where it is with deep breathing (if you don’t already know) and google a pain scale to gauge it.

Preexisting conditions

Unfortunately, you do have to put down any illnesses you already have, because they may be causing your problem.

Helping Yourself – Demonstrating Strength

Doctors don’t like whiners, like anyone else, and it’s their job to be complained at. Even if you have a legitimate illness, it’s important to negotiate with the doctor that you’re not just sitting on the couch eating potato chips. You must show the doctor you are strong and worthy of respect. List things you do to take care of yourself, whether it’s a regular nail appointment or a walk in the park.

I know what I’m talking about

Basically copy and paste this. It shows the doctor you know what you want from them and therefore know what you’re talking about. This is more than what most patients can say, “I can articulate how I want to be treated.” You will earn respect points.

Medication List

Have a list of your prescription and OTC medications, such as Tylenol, their dosage, and frequency.

Supplements

Supplements do not fall under the same category as medications. These include vitamins and natural herbal supplements.

Questions for the doctor

Before you go to the doctor, brainstorm a list of questions to ask them.

Humor

Find some medical-related humor to put at the end of the slide. See if your doctor comments on it. Don’t ask.

In Conclusion

You can win your doctor over and communicate effectively with just a little extra leg work. Don’t worry, you can do this!

5 Tips For Reaching a Diagnosis

Experiencing bodily discomfort can be scary, especially if it’s new. At first, you may have no clue what to do. You start out talking to family and friends. Eventually, you consider a doctor. The first visit is more confusing and angering than you expected. Aren’t doctors supposed to be like vending machines? You get the sniffles, you go in and out comes an antibiotic or nasal spray? Why is this so complicated?

That’s because the journey to a diagnosis is a long, hard one. If you’re reading this I can guess you’ve been on WebMD self-diagnosing yourself with everything from leprosy to cancer. You may have even come across fibromyalgia by this point, and you might want  to ask your doctor to test you for that. Don’t do that. Fibromyalgia is a diagnosis of exclusion, to be explored in later blog posts, as this is a somewhat controversial statement depending on where you live. It’s basically what you end up with after about a year of tests for everything but fibromyalgia. But there is a way to streamline your diagnosis journey.

For example, I have a severe form of fibromyalgia. It developed over a series of 3 years. There is, honestly, no use in me railing against the medical neglect I received that led to the lack of catching it before it progressed so far. Who knows what might have happened if doctors had seen the tan, fit, blonde pretty twentysomething with a mental health record’s complaints as valid back in 2016? I may have ended up just as severe as I am now. What I do want to do is give you a short regimen for gathering data should you find yourself in a similar predicament.

  1. Know what pain is.

I honestly didn’t know what pain felt like. As a small child, if I fell down and scraped my knee, my mother did not come over, pick me up, and kiss my booboos. Even when I developed endometriosis at age 14 I thought I was just sick to my stomach, light headed, and bleeding like crazy. I could describe what was going on poetically: “Something is clamping on me,” “this burns,” but I never thought of it as pain, because I was taught to ignore, belittle, and never admit pain from a young age. If you can describe what you feel in metaphors, think about people in movies or books experiencing similar situations and if they were described as being painful. If painful doesn’t work for you, think of “this hurts!” Answer “yes” when the doctor asks you if you are in pain if you can pass the metaphor, movie, or hurt test.

2. Keep a log of symptoms.

Buy a little pocket journal. When you get up every morning, write the date. Whenever you experience a symptom – nausea, vomiting, tingling, bowel movements – write the time and the symptom next to it under the date. Repeat. The point of the log is both for you to show the doctor and for you to learn patterns.

3. Exercise

Track your exercise in your symptom journal. Do you feel dizzy or lightheaded? How long are you able to exercise? What type of exercise are you doing? Even if you’ve never exercised before in your life, do this anyway. It will give you a more accurate depiction of your endurance. You can even start off just walking at your local mall or around your neighborhood.

4. Food

Log what you eat, when you eat, in your symptom journal. Your symptom journal should be written chronologically.

5. Clothing

When you write your date in your journal, record what clothes you are wearing and when. Make sure you write down the fabric type of the clothing. This can be found on the tags inside your clothes. This can help you see if there is a pattern between what you’re wearing and whether that triggers a symptom. Numbers 2, 3, and 4 are good things to do post-diagnosis as well.

This 5 step list is great for any diagnosis journey, no matter what the diagnosis may be. Remember to be patient and kind to yourself, because most diagnoses take quite some time. It’s okay, many people have been there before, and get off of WebMD!