From the best time to visit the doctor to how to prepare ahead of time, an Ontario physician shares some useful tips for patients looking to make the most of their appointment.

Dr. Adam Kassam, the chief resident physician at Western University’s department of physical medicine and rehabilitation, told CTV’s Your Morning that patients can maximize their trip to the doctor if they’re prepared.

What day of the week to visit:

To avoid wasting precious time in the waiting room, Dr. Kassam recommends scheduling an appointment on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays. He said the worst day of the week to see your doctor is on Mondays.

“Patients will sometimes get sick often on the weekends, they try to tough it out and if they don’t get better they call Monday morning and want an appointment,” he explained. “Mondays are usually high-volume days.”

What time of day to go:

For impatient patients, Dr. Kassam says the best time of day to visit the doctor is the first appointment of the day or the first one after lunch. Because you’ll be the first patient, it’s likely the doctor will be on time for the appointment, he said. Physicians also tend to catch up on their patient backlog during their lunch break, Dr. Kassam said.

What to avoid before the appointment:

As difficult as it may sound to some, Dr. Kassam suggests avoiding caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea or energy drinks in the morning before the visit.

“Caffeine elevates your blood pressure and increases your heart rate and when you’re getting your vitals taken, we don’t want there to be falsely elevated values that we’re then misinterpreting, or treating, or diagnosing,” he said.

When to schedule a visit in advance:

Although it depends on the reason for the visit, Dr. Kassam advises patients booking an annual health checkup to schedule it a week to a month in advance. He said patients with more pressing concerns should be able to schedule in less time.

The best time of year for an appointment:

Because November to March is considered flu season and doctors’ offices are usually busier, Dr. Kassam suggests scheduling a regular health checkup in the summer. The warmer months also tend to be less busy for physicians because many patients are away on vacation, he added.

Questions to ask before leaving:

Before leaving a doctor’s appointment, Dr. Kassam recommends asking a few important questions.

  • When would you like to see me next?
  • When will I hear back about a specialist appointment or other referral?
  • What should I do if my symptoms don’t improve or worsen?