Taking an active role in your health.
Going to the doctor can be intimidating. You can be more active in your health care by talking with your doctor. It’s important to be honest and upfront about your symptoms even if you feel embarrassed or shy. Have an open dialogue with your doctor — ask questions to make sure you understand your diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.
Here are a few tips that can help you talk to your doctor and make the most of your appointment:
- Write down a list of questions and concerns before your appointment.
- Consider bringing a close friend or family member with you.
- Take notes about what the doctor says, or ask a friend or family member to take notes for you.
- Learn how to access your medical records, so you can keep track of test results, diagnoses, treatments plans, and medications and prepare for your next appointment.
- Ask for the doctor’s contact information and their preferred method of communication.
- Remember that nurses and pharmacists are also good sources of information.
Starting with a new doctor?
Your first visit should include some communications basics:
- Let the doctor know how you like to be addressed to feel most comfortable
- Know the hours the office is open and what to do in an emergency
- Share your medical history
- If you had a former doctor, share their contact information
Finding the right doctor that fits your communication style and personality can make all the difference. Here are some tips to find the right doctor for you.
- Identify “in-network” providers that meet your needs.
- Review your health plan’s provider directory — a list of the doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers that your plan contracts with to provide care.
- If you’re looking for something specific, like a doctor who speaks a language other than English or can accommodate a disability, your insurer should be able to guide you in the right direction.
- Ask your friends for recommendations.
- You can ask people you trust if they have any doctors they like.
- Sometimes you can look up providers online to see what other people in the community say about them.
- Pick a provider.
- Call the provider’s office and ask any questions you may have to help you decide if they’re the right fit.
- You may also want to know if the office is close to your house or work, and if the appointment times work with your schedule.
- Give them a try!
- Sometimes it takes more than one visit to figure out if a provider is the right one for you