Medical Services

Tips for Seeing a Local Doctor

Language barriers, differences between medical systems and philosophies around the world, and varying medication names and dosages can all complicate mutual understanding when seeing a doctor in a foreign country. Never fear, however. According to the World Health Organization, Italy’s health care system is in the top 10 in the world. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital experience.

  • Be sure to inform the doctor of any medical conditions you have and any medicines you take regularly, providing generic names of medications whenever possible.

  • Advise of any allergies you have, particularly to medications.

  • Describe your symptoms slowly, clearly, thoroughly, and specifically. If you can’t remember everything you’ve been feeling, make a list before seeing the doctor.

  • Bring any related test results, prescriptions, diagnoses, or medical history information with you for your appointment.

  • Have your insurance information (GeoBlue, Generali, and your home insurance) as well as a passport copy with you at all times. You never know when you might need these documents.

  • Note that doctors do not provide medication, pharmacies do.

  • Medications with a combination of active ingredients for different symptoms are not available, so doctors often prescribe several medications for the same illness (i.e. one medication for fever, one for stuffy nose, one for cough, etc.).

  • If you need a doctor’s note for an absence from class, be sure to see the doctor while you are sick. Doctors cannot provide such documentation after the fact.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

  • Request assistance from an OSL staff member if you feel you’ve been misunderstood, are unsure about anything, or just want a second opinion.

Italian Health Insurance, GeoBlue, Private Health Insurance