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 Your Doctor (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)
- Speak Up: Understanding Your Doctors and Other Caregivers (Joint Commission) - PDF
- 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 Involved in Your Health Care: Tips for Patients (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)
- Communicating with Professionals (American Heart Association)
- 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: Discussing Serious News Remotely: Navigating Difficult Conversations During a Pandemic.
- Article: Crucial Conversations With Patients in the Era of COVID-19.
- Article: The importance of language in engagement between health-care professionals and people...
- Talking With Your Doctor -- see more articles
- I'm a Guy. How Can I Talk to My Female Doctor about Certain Things? (Nemours Foundation)
- Talking to Your Doctor (For Teens) (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Working with doctors and nurses (Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health)
- 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)