Talking to Your Doctor
Communication is a two-way street. It's important to talk openly and honestly with your doctor about your health so they can best help you. Not sure what to say? See our suggestions for getting the most from your
Make the most of your time with your doctor by preparing a list of questions. You can even bring two copies so your doctor is clear on what you need to know. Put your most important questions at the top of your list.
Getting the most out of your visit
- Speak clearly and directly about your health issues. Even if you don't normally share how you feel, the doctor's office is a place where you should make an exception. Take a risk and share.
- Listen to your doctor and repeat back what you hear in your own words. In a doctor's visit, there can be a lot of information for you to absorb. Make sure you understand so you get the full benefit of your doctor's knowledge and experience. You can also bring a friend or family member for support.
- Ask questions until you get the answers you need and ask for clarification if you're confused. It's your health and you deserve answers. You can also contact your doctor's office after your appointment if you realize later you missed something. Need help determining what questions to ask? Use the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Question Builder to create a list before your appointment.
- Create a family health history with tools your doctor's office provides you or using My Family Health Portrait from the U.S. Surgeon General. Your health history could play a role in tests your doctor recommends.
- Research a condition you're facing so you are better able to talk to your doctor about it.
Your doctor's office should make brochures or other written information available to you in your preferred language(s). If you are deaf or hard of hearing, use these tips for working with your doctor.
Talking to Your Doctor Resources
- My Family Health Portrait
(Office of the U.S. Surgeon General) Tool to help you document your family health history so you can more easily talk to your health care team about it.
- AHRQHealthTV "Questions Are the Answer" Videos
Watch this playlist of YouTube videos featuring patients, doctors and nurses talking about the importance of asking questions during your health care appointments.
Presented by the Washington Health Alliance. Visit the Community Checkup. Own Your Health is a campaign presented by the Puget Sound Health Alliance to empower consumers to become active participants in their own health and health care; Bureau of Minoirty Health; Mid-south Foundation; Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals