Questions to Ask Your Doctor
We encourage you to be fully informed about your health. Below, find suggested questions to ask your doctor. They may or may not relate to you, depending upon the disease or condition.
About Your Symptoms or Diagnosis
- What is the disease or condition?
- How serious is my disease or condition and how will it affect my home and work life?
- What is the short-term and long-term prognosis for my disease or condition?
- What caused the disease or condition?
- Is there more than one disease or condition that could be causing my symptoms?
- Should I be tested for a certain disease or condition?
- What symptoms should I watch for?
- How can I be tested for a disease or condition, and what will these tests tell me?
- What tests will be involved in diagnosing my disease or condition?
- How safe and accurate are the tests?
- When will I know the test’s results?
- Will I need more medical tests?
- Do I need a follow-up visit and if so, when?
- Do I need to take precautions to avoid infecting others?
- How is the disease or condition treated?
About Your Treatment
- What are my treatment options?
- How long will the treatment take?
- What is the cost of the treatment?
- Which treatment is most common for my disease or condition?
- Is there a generic form of my treatment and is it as effective?
- What side effects can I expect?
- What risks and benefits are associated with the treatment?
- What would happen if I didn’t have any treatment?
- What would happen if I delay my treatment?
- Is there anything I should avoid during treatment
- What should I do if I have side effects?
- How will I know if the medication is working?
- What would I do if I miss a dose of medication?
- Will my job or lifestyle be affected?
- What is my short-term and long-term prognosis?
If You Need Surgery
- Why do I need surgery?
- What surgical procedure are you recommending?
- Is there more than one way of performing this surgery?
- Are there alternatives to surgery?
- How much will surgery cost?
- What are the benefits of having surgery?
- What are the risks of having surgery?
- What if I don’t have this surgery?
- Where can I get a second opinion?
- What kind of anesthesia will I need?
- How long will it take me to recover?
- What are your qualifications?
- How much experience do you have performing this surgery?
- How long will I be in the hospital?
*Sources: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; wrongdiagnosis.com
How Patients Can Take an Active Role in Their Care and Safety
Participating in your own care has many advantages.Your doctor, nurse and other healthcare providers welcome your involvement.
Below, find tips for you and your family to help us ensure your health and safety:
Tip #1: Be involved in your healthcare.
To be involved in your healthcare:
- Take part in all decisions about your treatment
- Share any special care needs that you have
- Ask a trusted family member or friend to accompany you when you visit your doctor if you are too ill or stressed to participate yourself
- Remember you are the center of the healthcare team.
Tip #2: Speak up if you have any questions or concerns.
You have a right to question anyone who is involved with your care. To be sure you have all the information you need, it can help to write down questions to ask for the next time you visit the doctor.
Tip #3: Identify yourself.
Be sure the healthcare professional asks your name and birthdate. Also, don’t hesitate to inform the healthcare professional if you think he or she has confused you with another person.
Tip #4: Ask healthcare workers tell you what they plan to do before you consent to any procedure.
Healthcare workers should tell you what they plan to do before any procedure. Also, you can remind healthcare workers who have direct contact to wash their hands. Handwashing is an important way to prevent the spread of infection.
Tip #5: Bring your doctor a list of your medications and mention any allergies you have.
This list should include all over-the-counter medications, home remedies, and herbal medications including tea, vitamins and weight gain or loss products such as shakes, pills or bars. Sometimes they can be dangerous when you take them with other medications.
Know what medications you are taking, why you are taking them, and potential side effects. Let the doctor and nurse know of any allergies and type of reaction or side effects you have. Also be sure to ask questions about the medications you are prescribed during your appointment.
Watch and learn valuable tips about how to be actively involved in your safety.