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Published on June 11, 2014

Get Better Care – Talk with Your Doctor

June 11, 2014

woman talking with her doctorOpen communication is the key to receiving the best possible treatment when you visit your doctor. Whether it’s your first visit to a doctor, or a visit to the doctor you have seen for years, it is important for you to share and gather as much information as possible during the visit.

Tips to help you and your doctor communicate more effectively.

Before Your Visit

  • Make a list of your symptoms.
  • Write down all of the prescription and over-the-counter medications you are currently taking. Be prepared to talk about allergies and reactions to medications.
  • If the symptoms you are experiencing have occurred before, list the treatments that have worked and the ones that have not worked in the past.
  • Make sure you have your insurance cards, names of other doctors you are seeing, and other information such as medical records, test results, and x-rays.
  • List any changes you have noticed in your appetite, weight, sleep patterns, or energy level.
  • Be prepared to share personal information that may make you uncomfortable.
  • Write down any questions you have. Since time is limited during your visit, list the most important questions first.

During Your Visit

  • Be honest. Your doctor needs accurate information. Be honest about your diet, how much you smoke, the amount of exercise you are getting, etc.
  • Take notes. Take a notepad and write down your doctor’s comments, instructions, and recommendations. If you find it difficult to write while the doctor is talking, make notes immediately after the visit.
  • Request written information. Ask your doctor for brochures, audio or video tapes, or web sites that provide information about your condition or treatment.

After Your Visit

  • Be sure to call your doctor if you have any questions about your condition, your symptoms worsen or change, you have problems with your medications, or you had tests and have not received the results.

Other health professionals can also be good sources of information. Nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists are all valuable members of your healthcare team.

Need a doctor? Find a healthcare provider for you and your family today.  

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