A Checklist for Communicating with Your Doctor

After you've chosen a doctor through references or recommendations, it is important that you communicate well.

  • Get ready for your appointment by making a list of your concerns. 
  • Make sure you have your glasses and wear your hearing aid, if needed. 
  • Bring a friend or family member if you need help remembering what you’ve discussed. 
  • Bring your doctor up to date on what has happened since your last visit - any emergency room visits, or changes in your appetite, weight, sleep or energy levels. 
  • Be honest; don’t mislead the doctor by withholding the facts. 
  • Make the best use of your time by sticking to the point. 
  • Briefly describe any symptoms, when they started, how often they happen and if they are getting worse or better. 
  • Mention any new or different side effects of medication. 
  • Ask questions about anything you don’t understand or that worries you. Have the doctor repeat instructions if you’re unclear. Ask the meaning of words you don’t understand, and if you are concerned about costs, say so.

Return to the Safety Resource Center