Preparing for Your Doctor’s Appointment
You and your doctor are a team, and working closely with him or her—asking questions, listening carefully and following his or her advice—is good for your health.
Before your next doctor's visit:
- Make a list of your questions and concerns.
- Make a list of all the medications you are taking including prescription and non-prescription drugs, vitamins, and other natural remedies.
- Ask a friend or family member to come with you, if you think it will be helpful.
During your visit:
- Go over your list of questions or concerns with your doctor or nurse, asking your most important questions first.
- Discuss your symptoms if you have a health problem, and any recent changes you may have noticed.
- Describe any allergies to medications, foods, pollen or other things.
- Talk to your doctor about your family's health history.
- Tell your doctor or nurse if you are being treated by other doctors.
- Ask questions about prescriptions, treatments and test results.
- Take notes to help you remember everything your doctor says and any instructions.
After your visit:
- Follow up to get your test results by calling and asking for your results if you do not hear from your doctor.
Some questions to ask at your next doctor's appointment:
If you are prescribed a new medication:
What is the name of the medication, and how do you spell it? Why do I need it? When/how do I take it? Can I stop taking it if I feel better? Are there any side effects, and what should I do if they occur?
If you have been diagnosed with a condition:
How can I learn more about my condition? What are my treatment options? Is there anything I can do to ease my symptoms?
If you have been recommended treatment:
What are the various forms of treatment available for my condition, and why do you recommend this one? How long will treatment take? Are there any side effects, and what can I do if they occur? Is it covered by my health insurance?
If you require tests:
How can I prepare for the test? What are the benefits and risks of having this? Are there any side effects, and what can I do if they occur? When can I expect results? How can I follow up?
Before leaving the doctor's office:
Do I need to schedule a follow-up appointment?
- Use this form (PDF) to make a list of all the medications you are taking including prescription and non-prescription drugs, vitamins, and other natural remedies such as herbal products. Share this with your doctor at your next visit.
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