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Patient to Doctor: Tips for Better Communication

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Every time I go to the doctor, at the end of the appointment, he or she will ask me, “Do you have any questions?” Every time I say, “I can’t think of anything.” But I know I have questions; I can never remember them.

Communicating with our doctors is difficult. It shouldn’t be but for some reason, when many of us get into that examination room, we clam up or just plain feel uncomfortable. If this has ever happened to you, try these tips the next time you visit with your doc.

•Write your questions down before the appointment – So when you get the point of the visit where you usually say, “Umm . . .” you’ll have great questions to ask instead.

•Know your medical history – Informing your doctor of preexisting conditions (allergies, illnesses) and medicines will give he or she a better idea of where to start in terms of diagnosis and treatment.

•Know how to contact your doctor – In the event you don’t write your questions and forget what to ask, you can easily call or email them to your physician after the appointment.

•Bring a friend or relative for moral support – If you feel more comfortable with someone else in the room, bring a close friend or family member to the doctor's office.

•Make your doctor aware of your cultural/personal beliefs – This might not seem like essential information, but what you believe could effect treatment your doctor may prescribe.

Your health is important above all, so help your doctor help you.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.