Tips For Communicating With Your Doctor


  • Remember you and your doctor are partners in your healthcare, so become an active participant.
  • Bring someone with you. Sometimes having someone help you listen to the doctor’s instructions can fill in details you may have missed. In addition, they may come up with questions you may not had thought of.
  • Bring your notes. Prepare for the questions your doctor is going to ask. What are your symptoms, how long have you had the symptoms, are you on any medications including herbal or complimentary therapies. Provide your doctor with complete information and take notes during your visit.
  • Bring your questions. Prepare a list of questions you may have about your symptoms, condition and treatment. I.e. What are the costs and risk associated with this treatment, Are there alternatives, How do I take this medication.
  • Ask questions. If you don’t understand, have the doctor re-explain it to you. No question is a dumb one. If you remember a question after you have already left, feel free to call back.
  • Repeat back. Make sure you have understood all the information your doctor has given you by repeating back from your notes.
  • Share in every medical decision. With the exception of an emergency, you must give your informed consent for every treatment or test. You need to actively participate in your medical care. Work with your physician to find a treatment that meets your expectations and beliefs, and is supported by your physician’s expertise.
  • Get a second opinion. Your doctor should be glad to see you have taken an assertive role in your healthcare by seeking a second opinion, if you are not sure his advice is right for you.
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