Questions to ask your Doctor
In cases of emergency 911, you may refer to the emergency page and this one on your cell phone, if possible.
If you are not in an emergency, it’s wise to know your health access depends, in part, on being an active participant in your care. Your doctor may direct you to take his or her proposed diagnostic tests and develop a treatment plan. Yet, your doctor may have as little as 15 minutes to accomplish these activities. So, he or she may ask you to return to discuss secondary concerns or follow up for diagnostic test results and to receive a proposed treatment plan. By having an appreciation for your doctor’s background through research and streamlining communication to assist with quality care before your appointment, you may significantly enhance your bond, optimize the opportunity for high quality care and contain costs.
The Top Questions for Your Doctor
If you’re planning on diagnostic tests or a treatment plan, it’s OK to have the following “W’s” answered in your mind and on paper.The good news is that your physician will likely appreciate your interest in wanting to make an educated decision through this informed consent tool. Of course, the best approach is up to you. You may have more or other questions you want to ask. In the meantime…
What is wrong with me?
What can I do to take better care of myself?
What is the proposed diagnostic test(s) be able to conclusively diagnose? Will I need other tests later? What are my risks if I wait to have the test(s) until I can conduct research to learn more and conduct a comparative analysis?
What can’t the diagnostic test(s) rule out and what are the risks associated with the test?
What is the proposed treatment plan? What will the treatment correct and not correct? How long will the results last and will I have to monitor the results over time? If I have to monitor the results over time, how can I be ensured to receive notice and what types of tests may be required?
Why does the physician have a preference?
What will happen if nothing is done at all?
What are the benefits, risks, and recovery time associated with the proposed treatment plan based on the physician’s level of training and experience?
What types of patient comforts will I receive, such as to stay ahead of pain or prevent nausea?
What are the alternatives to the proposed diagnostic test(s) and treatment plan?
What coping skills will be required to manage a sub-optimal outcome or no treatment, such as the risk of needing assistance with daily living skills?
What time frame is called for to have the proposed tests(s) and treatment plan, according to traditional diagnostic reasoning guidelines? If the time line presented to you differs, ask why.
What would the physician recommend if you were his or her daughter or son?
Is there anything I should do to reduce the risk of complications from my condition?
What are the costs?
- Follow your instincts. Seek out a second opinion if you feel you need one. Don’t let costs get in the way of treatment. Check out other resources if you need to.
- If you have already been to doctors and have not responded to treatment, it’s OK to ask where the Number 1 Specialist for your symptoms and condition is in or out of your local area or Country.
Special Considerations: Urgency and Invasiveness for Tests and/or Treatment
- Is the facility where the test and treatment will occur a fully accredited surgical center?
- If you are receiving anesthesia, it’s OK to learn more about anesthesia considerations.
If you are receiving an Implantable Device, it’s OK to:
- Know the Brand Name, Type, “Model Number” and/or Style. Check the manufacturer’s website to learn more about it. Type the name of the implant and “benefits/risks” into your Internet browser and learn more.
- Keep this information for your records.
- Sign up for registries that track patient outcomes. Ask your physician where you may find one, go online to find one and check the manufacturer’s website. This may allow you to receive alerts to know if you need to action regarding your health.
If you are receiving a prescription, it’s OK:
- It’s OK to ask your doctor about drug side effects and risks for interactions with other drugs, including dates that you may need to go for blood work to detect the onset of a side effect, such as high cholesterol.
- It’s OK to ask your doctor how long the drug has been on the market. Drug recalls may not commence until five or more years after a drug is initially approved by the FDA.
- It’s OK to ask your pharmacist the same questions, review the package insert and/or the drug manufacturer’s website to learn more from the prospective of the pharmacist.
- If you experience side effects, contact your doctor immediately.
- If you do not respond to medications a timely fashion, seek out an alternative.
It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition. Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.