Be prepared with the questions you want to ask your doctor & make sure you understand the answers before you leave
by JONATHAN M. METSCH, DR.P.H., LLC
Apr 10, 2014 | 533 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality http://www.ahrq.gov/ * has published lists of questions you should consider before, during and after an appointment with your doctor.

“You can make sure you get the best possible care by being an active member of your health care team. Being involved means being prepared and asking questions. Asking questions about your diagnoses, treatments, and medicines can improve the quality, safety, and effectiveness of your health care. Taking steps before your medical appointments will help you to make the most of your time with your doctor and health care team.”

“Time is limited during doctor visits. Prepare for your appointment by thinking about what you want to do during your next visit. Do you want to: Talk about a health problem? Get or change a medicine? Get medical tests? Talk about surgery or treatment options? Write down your questions to bring to your appointment. The answers can help you make better decisions, get good care, and feel better about your health care.”

“These questions can get you started: What is the test for? How many times have you done this procedure? When will I get the results? Why do I need this treatment? Are there any alternatives? What are the possible complications? Which hospital is best for my needs? How do you spell the name of that drug? Are there any side effects? Will this medicine interact with medicines that I'm already taking?

“During Your Appointment questions could include: What is my diagnosis? What are my treatment options? What are the benefits of each option? What are the side effects? Will I need a test? What is the test for? What will the results tell me? What will the medicine you are prescribing do? How do I take it? Are there any side effects? Why do I need surgery? Are there other ways to treat my condition? How often do you perform this surgery? Do I need to change my daily routine?”

“There are other times when you should follow up on your care and call your doctor. Call your doctor: If you experience any side effects or other problems with your medicines. If your symptoms get worse after seeing the doctor. If you receive any new prescriptions or start taking any over-the-counter medicines. To get results of any tests you’ve had. Do not assume that no news is good news. To ask about test results you do not understand.

*To read all the AHRQ recommendations highlight and click on open hyperlink http://www.ahrq.gov/patients-consumers/patient-involvement/ask-your-doctor/10questions.htmlNote: This blog shares general information about understanding and navigating the health care system. For specific medical advice about your own problems, issues and options talk to your personal physician.

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