Preparing for Your Appointment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Preparing in advance for your appointment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital will help you feel more comfortable when the day arrives. Take the time to gather personal and medical information, and write down any questions you have for your physician prior to the visit. Advance planning can make your hospital visit go smoothly.

If it is your first appointment, please arrive a half hour before your scheduled appointment. This allows time for patient registration.

Who to Bring with You

You will receive a lot of information at your first appointment. A friend or family member can write down details during the visit as well as ask questions of your providers. They can also transport you to and from the hospital.

Photo ID

To verify your identity, we may ask for photo identification (driver’s license, military or government-issued card).

Billing and Insurance

Brigham and Women's Hospital accepts most health insurance plans; Mass General Brigham maintains information about health insurance accepted at BWH so that you can confirm whether or not your plan is accepted here.

You should always check with your own health insurance plan before getting care to make sure you understand your covered benefits and costs.

For patients who would like to request a cost estimate for healthcare services at BWH you can find more information about how to do so on the Mass General Brigham website.

Be prepared to pay by cash, check or major credit card for any required co-pay. If a spouse or parent is the primary carrier, have his or her information ready, including the employer’s name. Bring your insurance card with you.

Medical Records

Your BWH physician will want to review your medical records prior to or during your visit. Records include laboratory tests or diagnostic imaging tests done in connection with the reason for your visit. When requested, please provide written pathology reports and CDs of X-rays, scans or MRIs.

Referring Doctor

We will ask for your referring doctor’s name, address and phone number.

Health History

Be prepared to discuss your past and current health issues, such as hospitalizations, surgeries and allergies. You may be asked questions about your family’s health history and your diet, exercise and sleep habits.


Always bring a list of your current medications (prescription and over-the-counter drugs, supplements and vitamins) including the dosage and frequency. We will need the name and contact information for your pharmacy.

Advance Directives

Bring a copy of your advance directives (health care proxy or living will) if you already have one. If you don’t, you can access information about advance directives in English or Spanish.


Depending upon the department or service you are visiting, you may be asked to complete forms or documents prior to your scheduled visit. Some clinical areas will have specific forms to download on their websites for you to prepare and bring to your appointment.

Patient Gateway

Once you are a registered patient, you can set up a Patient Gateway account, allowing you to communicate with your physicians and access your test results.


Please familiarize yourself with the location for your appointment, and secure directions and parking information. If your appointment is at the main hospital during the hours of 10 am – 3 pm, please allow extra time for driving and parking as these are the busiest times of the day at the hospital.

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For over a century, a leader in patient care, medical education and research, with expertise in virtually every specialty of medicine and surgery.

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