First Appointment Checklist

Bring your questions for your doctor to your first visit. We help you get started with a checklist of what to expect and what to prepare.

Prepare for your visit by completing the following guidelines:

1. Fill out your paperwork.

  • Go through the pages in the front pocket of your Patient & Family Resource Guide.
  • Fill out the patient intake questionnaire on pages 1.2 to 1.3 of the guide.
  • Fill out the allergy and medication form on pages 1.4 to 1.5 of the guide.
  • You may need to complete more paperwork when you check in for your appointment. Our front desk staff will let you know.

2. Gather important information to bring to your appointment.

Please bring:

  • Your Patient & Family Resource Guide, with your completed patient intake questionnaire and allergy and medication form, to help you organize important information
  • Valid photo identification
  • Your health insurance card(s), including Medicare, Medi-Cal (California Medicaid), Covered California, and any others
  • Check, credit card, or debit card to pay for your health insurance co-pay (cash not accepted)

3. Prepare for your conversation with your doctor.

  • Read through this guide for details about:
    • Whom you’ll meet at Stanford during your visit
    • Our approach to treatment
    • What to expect
    • Services available to you and your family
  • Write down your questions and bring them, so you can ask your doctor during your visit.
  • Tell your care team if you would like free interpretation in your preferred language during your visits. You can also work with online interpreters. Learn more about Stanford Interpreter Services at

4. Arrange for a family member or friend to come with you.

  • Please plan to spend 2 to 4 hours at your first appointment.
  • It can be very helpful to have someone with you at your first appointment. Your companion can help you take notes, hold your personal items, and provide support during your visit.

5. Plan to arrive on time for your appointment.

  • Write down your appointment details and keep them in a safe place. Include:
    • Doctor’s name
    • Date and time
    • Address
  • Plan ahead for how you will get to your appointment. Make sure to include time in traffic or on public transportation, and for parking and walking to the building.
  • Arrive at least 90 minutes before your appointment time.
  • If you have time, visit our café or health library. Our library staff is happy to help you learn more about cancer and the treatment options we offer. Stop by the reception desks in our Palo Alto or San Jose cancer centers for library locations. You can also call:
    • Cancer Center, Palo Alto: 650-736-1960, 875 Blake Wilbur Drive, first floor by the café
  • Cancer Center, South Bay: 408-353-0197, 2589 Samaritan Drive, third-floor lobby

6. Check out and schedule your following appointments.

  • After your first appointment, be sure to stop by the front desk to check out before you leave.
  • Our staff will help you schedule your next appointments.

For confidential help with your health care questions, contact the Stanford Health Library. Professional medical librarians and trained volunteers can help you access journals, books, e-books, databases, and videos to learn more about medical conditions, treatment options, and related issues.

Current as of: 9/2019