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How to prepare for your doctor appointment

Primary care patients, here’s how to make the most of your visit 

You have a lot of goals in life. Getting (and staying) healthy is a big one — and your primary care provider (also called family medicine provider) is your partner in doing that. In fact, you have a whole primary care team, including doctors, physician assistants, nurses and pharmacists, whose job is to help you reach that goal. And they’ll do it in many ways:

  • Checkups and screenings
  • Monitoring and controlling chronic conditions
  • Treating common illnesses and injuries

Have other care needs? Your family medicine provider can refer you to a specialist nearby.

Making the most of your office visits

Your appointment is the perfect time to ask questions. Before you come, write them down to make sure you cover everything during your visit. And be prepared to share a list of all your medications and dosages, including vitamins and supplements.

Communicating with your care team

It’s easy for you to connect with your care team when you’re a Geisinger patient:


Using MyGeisinger, our online patient portal, you can:

  • Review your medical record
  • Get lab results, important health information and alerts
  • Pay your bill
  • Message your care team with (non-urgent) health questions
  • Schedule and cancel appointments

Signing up is easy! Visit MyGeisinger and follow the prompts to sign up. It’s a great time saver and lets you manage your and your family’s health 24/7/365 from your phone, tablet or computer.

You can also access MyGeisinger on your smartphone using our MyChart mobile app.

Call us first

Our nurse triage line offers medical advice when you need it most. If you have a health question, call your doctor’s office to speak with a Geisinger registered nurse — it could help you avoid a costly (and unnecessary) trip to the ER.

The nurse triage line should not be used in an emergency. Call 911 or head to your nearest ER for emergency care.

How do I get a referral?

When possible, ask for referrals during your office visit. If you don’t have a visit scheduled, you can call our office during regular business hours or message us through MyGeisinger to request a referral.

What is prior authorization?

At times, you may need to get approval (called prior authorization) from your insurance company for additional testing, procedures or treatments. Check your insurance company’s policies to be sure.

Easy Rx: Prescription and refill requests

  • If you need a prescription refill, ask for it during your office visit. If that’s not possible, you can:
  • It may take up to 48 hours for your request to be processed.
  • Antibiotic prescriptions usually require an office visit.
  • For controlled substance prescriptions (which include depressants, hallucinogens, narcotics, stimulants and anabolic steroids):
    • You’ll need to sign a medication use agreement.
    • Your doctor will decide whether to refill controlled substances and pain medication.
    • Controlled substances and pain medications cannot be filled after hours or on weekends.

Need a new family doctor? Make an appointment online.

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