Living Well

5 Easy Ways to Talk to Your Doctor

Andrew J. Siegel, M.D.
5 Easy Ways to Talk to Your Doctor

It is important to take a proactive approach to your health. One way to do this is to develop a relationship with your physician. Communication is key. Don’t be embarrassed or shy if you do not understand your diagnosis or treatment. You should be able to trust your doctor. Here are a few tips to help you make the most out of your appointment:

Older female patient holding a prescription bottle while talking to a male physician taking notes

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Many healthcare providers want you to ask questions. Don’t be shy to say, “I don’t understand. Would you please explain it to me again?”. Or, if needed, don’t be afraid to call back and ask to speak with your healthcare provider or nurse again. Also, it is often easy to forget questions you may have, so write your questions down before you go to your appointment. It is hard to remember everything you’re being told at each visit. Try to write down what your physician tells you or ask to record the conversation.

  1. Don’t withhold information.

Do not tell your physician that you’re just fine when you’re not. Your physician needs to know about any changes. Tell them if you’re having pain or any recent problems since your last appointment. All this information is important in helping your physician diagnosis you and give you the best medical care.

  1. Take a partner with you to your appointments and treatment.

Your partner can be helpful during these visits, and they may ask questions you didn’t think of. They can also ask the tough questions for you. It’s important to talk before the visit and work together as a team to make sure you know what questions or problems you want to talk about. Having a partner with you is especially important if you’re on medication or if you’re anxious or upset. After the appointment, talk with them to review the information and make sure you both understand the information. They can also take notes and write down other questions you may have.

  1. Avoid the urge to get upset with your doctor.

There is no good way to give someone bad news. It is important to keep in mind that your healthcare providers are doing everything they can to help you get well. As with all relationships in life, difficulties may arise, and talking about them can help. Be clear and precise in stating your concerns and listen to your physician’s response.

  1. Follow up with your doctor

If you have forgotten any information after your appointment or still confused, contact your doctor. If you can’t speak to your doctor, talk to a nurse. It is okay to follow up with your physician. If you still need more information, ask your doctor for reliable books or websites to help you better understand your condition.

Your relationship with your healthcare provider is one of the most important in your life. So make sure you do everything you can to get the most out of your medical visits.

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Dr. Andrew J Siegel is an Internal Medicine Specialist in New Orleans, Louisiana. Andrew was born and raised in California and spent his undergrad years at the University of California. He graduated with honors from Tulane University School Of Medicine in 2016. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and child, being outdoors, cooking, or eating at one of the city’s many tasty restaurants.