We’re rarely at our best when we see our medical providers. There are many reasons for this. We could be sick, frustrated because something’s not right or have anxiety about the appointment. It’s important for us to communicate clearly with our medical providers.

Patient’s responsibility:

  • Share symptoms
  • Share issues
  • Share concerns

Medical provider’s responsibility:

  • Listen
  • Trust the patient’s point of view
  • Diagnose based on facts

The key to getting the best treatment possible is to be prepared.

  • Make a list of your concerns and prioritize them.
  • Keep track of your symptoms, onset, duration, intensity and what seems to make them better or worse.
  • Consider bringing a family member or friend to the doctor’s visit. They could help take notes, ask more questions and offer another perspective different from yours.
  • Keep your doctor up to date with any changes to your overall health.1
  • Bring a list of all the doctors you currently see. Bring recent lab or test results. Have a list of any medications (prescription and over the counter) and supplements that you take.

If you don’t feel like you can connect with your medical provider, it’s okay to look for a new one. Get a second (or third) opinion from a specialist if you’re unsure about the advice you’ve received.

Remember that you are the expert on you. You know your body and when something’s not working. To ensure you always get the best care, trust yourself and speak up.

Talk to a doctor

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Published March 1, 2023

1 https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/how-prepare-doctors-appointment#take

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