What to ask on a Doctor Visit (Communication is Key)
A person has to take an active role and have responsibility for one's own health. Communication with caregivers and medical professionals is key.
Going to the doctor is stressful. Have questions in mind and jot them down on a notepad before you arrive at the doctor's office. Take the notepad in with you and write down the answers.
When you're in front of the doctor, don't let the atmosphere rush you. Take your time and get your doctor to listen to you.
Make sure you understand the diagnosis. Make sure you understand the causes and treatments of the condition:
- Could other systems be affected at any given time?
- Are there any symptoms that are particularly noteworthy so that you should contact the doctor if they occur?
- What lifestyle changes are recommended? Really listen. Take the notepad out and write down the answers.
- Ask about treatments: not just standard, but alternative treatments, as well. Why did your doctor choose that treatment?
- What is the duration of that treatment?
- Is cost or insurance coverage a factor?
- What is the success rate?
- What are the risks and benefits?
- What about interactions or side effects to watch out for?
- Are there exploratory treatments available and how long would it take to be accepted into a trial?
Ask about tests:
- What kinds of tests will be done and what is the expected outcome?
- What special precautions are needed and is there any special preparation required?
- Are there risks or side effects?
- Do I need anyone to drive me to and from the tests?
- Will I need different tests or more of the same tests later?
Ask about charts and records:
- Will you get a copy of them for yourself?
- Is there a charge?
- Will the information be provided via electronic record that you are able to access it any time?
Don't forget to write down what the doctor says. Ask for brochures, literature, and additional information that the doctor may have. Your practitioner may even be able to suggest support groups or even specific patients who have gone through what you're about to go through. Knowing what to expect and what is expected of you can be a key to recovery. Being able to communicate with your medical professional is the most important part of the visit.