(This came by email 1/29/12
rek) Taking time to prepare your
questions before your Doctor's visit will help you get the most out of
your health care. Try these 10 basic questions to get started:
10 Starter Questions for Doctors.
does it cost?
1. What is the best test for _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ?
Next best test? _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
2. How many times have you done this procedure?
How many times were the results not good?
3. When will I get the results?
4. Why do I need this treatment?
5. Are there any alternatives or other options?
6. What are the possible complications?
7. Which hospital is best for my needs?
8. How do you spell the name of that drug?
9. Are there any side effects?
Will this medicine interact with medicines that I'm already taking?
- You know important things about your symptoms and your
health history. Tell your doctor what you think he or she needs to
- It is important to tell your doctor personal
information-even if it makes you feel embarrassed or uncomfortable.
- Bring a "health history" list with you, and keep it up to
date. You might want to make a copy of the form for each member of your
- Always bring any medicines you are taking, or a list of
those medicines (include when and how often you take them) and what
strength. Talk about any allergies or reactions you have had to your
- Tell your doctor about any herbal products you use or
alternative medicines or treatments you receive.
- Bring other medical information, such as x-ray films, test
results, and medical records.
- Ask questions. If you don't, your doctor may think you
understand everything that was said.
- Write down your questions before your visit. List the most
important ones first to make sure they get asked and answered.
- You might want to bring someone along to help you ask
questions. This person can also help you understand and/or remember the
- Ask your doctor to draw pictures if that might help to
- Take notes.
- Some doctors do not mind if you bring a tape recorder to
help you remember things. But always ask first.
- Let your doctor know if you need more time. If there is not
time that day, perhaps you can speak to a nurse or physician assistant
on staff. Or, ask if you can call later to speak with someone.
- Ask if your doctor has washed his or her hands before
starting to examine you. Research shows that handwashing can prevent
the spread of infections. If you're uncomfortable asking this question
directly, you might ask, "I've noticed that some doctors and nurses
wash their hands or wear gloves before touching people. Why is that?"
Take Information Home
- Ask for written instructions.
- Your doctor also may have brochures and audio tapes and
videotapes that can help you. If not, ask how you can get such
Once You Leave the Doctor's Office, Follow Up
- If you have questions, call.
- If your symptoms get worse, or if you have problems with
your medicine, call.
- If you had tests and do not hear from your doctor, call for
your test results.
- If your doctor said you need to have certain tests, make
appointments at the lab or other offices to get them done.
- If your doctor said you should see a specialist, make an
Remember, quality matters, especially when it comes to your
health. For more on health care quality and materials to help you make
health care decisions, go to Choosing
Long Term Quality Care.
3 Good Questions to Ask
> What is my main problem?
> What do I need to do?
> Why is it important for me to do this?
At the End of the Visit
> Do I need to return for another visit?
> Do I need to call for test results?
> What side effects or concerns should I
> When do I need to follow up?
> Anything else I need to know?
After the Visit
> Be sure to get the results of
any test or procedure!
assume the results are fine if you do not get them when
your doctor and ask for your results
- Ask what
the results mean for your care
When You See a Specialist
> Know the diagnosis or suspected diagnosis
> Learn about basic treatment options
> Make sure the specialist has all test
results and records on your case
> Make sure you know why the tests are
- Ask: Are these
- Don't repeat tests!
Making the Most of Your Doctor's Visit
If You Are Facing Surgery…
> Most surgeries are not emergencies.
> This means that you have time to make sure
that this surgery is the best treatment for you