How well you and your doctor communicate with each other is one of the most important parts of getting good health care. Being prepared can help you make the most of your visit, whether it is in person or through telehealth. Here are some things you can do to make the most of your appointment:
- Make lists of your concerns, any allergies and all the medicines, herbs, or vitamins you take
- Write down a description of symptoms - when they started, what makes them better, what makes them worse, etc.
- Ask a trusted friend or family member to be with you during the appointment
- Take notes during your appointment
- Learn how to access your medical records, so you can keep track of test results, diagnoses, treatments plans, and medicines
- Ask for your doctor's contact information and find out the best way to communicate with him or her
Make sure you understand your diagnosis and any treatments. If you don't understand your doctor's responses, ask questions until you do understand. Ask your doctor for written instructions if you need them. Find out where else you can go for further information.
NIH: National Institutes of Health
- Questions to Ask the Doctor: Do You Know the Right Questions to Ask? (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)
- Talking to Your Doctor (National Eye Institute) Also in Spanish
- Talking to Your Doctor (National Institutes of Health) Also in Spanish
- Talking with Your Doctor: Make the Most of Your Appointment (National Institutes of Health) Also in Spanish
- Tips for Talking to Your Doctor (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish
Treatments and Therapies
- 4 Tips: Start Talking with Your Health Care Providers about Complementary Health Approaches (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
- Be More Engaged in Your Health Care: Tips for Patients (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)
- Getting a Second Opinion Before Surgery (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) - PDF
- Living Well with a Serious Illness: Talking with Your Doctor When the Future Is Uncertain (American College of Physicians) - PDF
- Telehealth: MedlinePlus Health Topic (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
Health Check Tools
- How to Prepare for a Doctor's Appointment (National Institute on Aging) Also in Spanish
- Question Builder: Be Prepared for Your Next Medical Appointment (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)
Videos and Tutorials
- Understanding Medical Words: A Tutorial from the National Library of Medicine (National Library of Medicine)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Unmasking misunderstandings: Strategies for better communication with patients.
- Article: Transparency as a Trust-Building Practice in Physician Relationships With Patients.
- Article: Addressing Medical Misinformation in the Patient-Clinician Relationship.
- Talking With Your Doctor -- see more articles
- Talking to Your Child's Doctor (Nemours Foundation)
- Living with Multiple Health Problems: What Older Adults Should Know (AGS Foundation for Health in Aging)
- Talking with Your Doctor (National Institute on Aging)
- What Do I Need to Tell the Doctor? (National Institute on Aging)
- What Should I Ask My Doctor During a Checkup? (National Institute on Aging)