Health Advisory

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Before your next appointment, make a list of questions you want to ask your doctor. This guide will get you started.

Physicians are very busy, so even when you have an appointment, your doctor may have limited time to spend with you. To get the most out of an upcoming appointment, write down a list of questions you have for your doctor, and bring the list with you. This way, if you get nervous or distracted, you won’t forget what you wanted to ask.

Everyone’s health needs are different, but you may find this list of common questions helpful as you prepare your list.

General Medical Questions

  • How are my vital signs?
  • Am I due for any routine tests or vaccinations?
  • Based on my family history of [illness], am I at risk? (For example: heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer)
  • When do you want to see me again?

Questions About Symptoms

If you’re experiencing a new symptom, let your doctor know when you first noticed it, how severe it is, and how often it occurs.

  • What could be causing this?
  • Is this a reason for concern?
  • What tests do you recommend?
  • What treatment do you recommend?
  • How urgent is the treatment?

Questions About Medication

Confirm that your doctor has an updated list of the medications, vitamins, and supplements you’re taking, including the dosages. If you’re thinking of stopping any of the medications, check with your doctor first.

If the doctor prescribes a new medication, you may want to ask:

  • Why did you prescribe this?
  • How and when do you want me to take it? (For example, with food in the morning)
  • What should I expect when I take it?
  • Are there side effects I should look out for?
  • Could any of my other medications or supplements interfere with this medication?
  • How do you want me to keep taking it?
  • What should I do if I miss a dose?

Follow-Up Questions to Keep in Mind

If your doctor recommends that you get a particular test, you may want to ask:

  • Where do you recommend that I have this test done?
  • What should I do to prepare for the test? (For example, fast for 12 hours)
  • Can I drive myself to and from the test?
  • Will they send the results to your office?
  • When will I find out the results? Will you call me, or should I follow up on a certain date?
  • What will the results tell us?

During your appointment, if your doctor uses medical jargon or says something you don’t understand, ask for clarification.

  • What does that mean? Can you explain it in simpler language?
  • Where can I learn more about this?

Tips for Getting Your Medical Questions Answered

  • Put your most urgent questions at the top of the list. Don’t be embarrassed or afraid to ask anything. Your doctor is there to help you.
  • It may be helpful for your doctor if you send your questions in advance through their online portal.
  • Consider asking a friend, family member, or health advisor to accompany you to the appointment. 
  • Take notes on what the doctor says during your appointment, or ask your doctor for permission to make an audio recording. 
  • If your doctor is unable to answer all of your questions in person, send a follow-up message after the appointment.

For in-depth support, work with an expert health advisor. In addition to collaborating with you on a customized list of questions for your doctor, a health advisor will provide ongoing guidance to help you and your loved ones get great health care.

Reach out anytime for assistance selecting the best insurance plan, finding a concierge doctor, arranging for mental health treatment or substance abuse recovery, or navigating other aspects of the healthcare system.

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