Tips for Talking to Your Physician

8/2/2012

Taking an active role in your health care can help you get the best possible care from your Christie Clinic physician.  These tips will help you improve your relationships with your physician, so together; you can improve your health care.

Talk to your doctor

Be sure to tell your doctor about any issues or concerns you have, even if you’re embarrassed.  Provide your doctor the following information during your exam:

  • Any symptoms you are having
  • Your health history.  Create a health journal or use IC-MyHealthRecord to write down past illnesses, vaccinations and known allergies
  • Personal information, i.e. are you stressed or depressed
  • Mention changes in your weight, appetite, sleep patterns, energy level, etc.
  • Any medications you are taking.  Create a list in your journal or IC-MyHealthRecord
  • Any side effects you experience from medication
  • Any vitamins, herbs or supplements you take
  • Any test results you brought with you
  • Be honest in your responses to your doctor’s questions

Ask questions

Let your physician know if you don’t understand something.  If you have questions before the appointment, write them down so you don’t forget. Tell your doctor if you need more time to discuss something. 

        Good questions to ask:

  • What is my diagnosis?
  • Do I need to take any additional testing?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • When will the treatment start and how long will it last?
  • What are the risks and side effects of the treatment?
  • When do I need to call or see you again?          

Take information home with you for reference

Take written notes during your appointment so you can refer to it later. Or, ask your physician if they have more information that you can take home and refer to later.  Sometimes it is good to bring a friend or family member and they can review the information with you after you leave. They can write down answers while you ask questions.

Post-appointment followup

Follow the instructions your doctor gave you.  If you’re confused or have forgotten some information, contact your doctor.  Always contact your doctor if you start to feel worse or have problems with your medicine.

Remember to schedule routine or wellness appointments with your physician to discuss your overall health, not just when an illness presents itself.  Talk to your physician about the best appointment schedule for you.