Asking questions is one of the best ways to take ownership of your health. You’ll stay better informed about treatment options as well as steps you can take to remain healthier over time.
Make your visits to the doctor more productive by asking these questions:
- Where can I find good information about my condition? You can find anything online, including medical and health advice. But not all of it is credible. Ask your doctor what sources he or she trusts to make sure the information you find is accurate.
- What’s the most important lifestyle change I can make to improve my health? For some people, losing weight is the main goal. But for others it might be getting more sleep or reducing stress levels. Your doctor can help you set and work toward goals that will have the most positive impact on your health.
- Can you explain the rationale behind taking this medication? Your physician weighs the advantages and risks before prescribing medication. He or she can help you understand why a certain one was selected based on factors such as other medications you may take, risk of side effects, cost and more.
- How does cost weigh into today’s recommendations? Most primary care physicians are dialed into cost and prescribe generic medications when possible and only recommend tests and treatments that are likely to improve your outcome. But it doesn’t hurt to ask if the recommended treatment plan is the most cost effective.
- What outcome should I expect? It’s important to learn what to expect during the first few days of treatment, how quickly you can expect to feel better and how long it will take to make a full recovery – if one is possible.
- What’s the best way to contact you? Find out if it’s best to reach out by phone, MyChart or another method. It’s also a good idea to ask how quickly you’ll get a response as well as what you should do if you start experiencing new symptoms or side effects.
- When should I see you again? Be proactive about your care and find out when you need to check in with your physician – and if that check in should be an in-person visit, MyChart message, phone call or video visit.
To help patients better understand their care, Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin health network provides after visit summaries. These summaries includes tests and results, medications prescribed, patient next steps and when follow up appointments should be scheduled. It also helps patients access MyChart so they have a direct line of communication with their physician.