Before Your Appointment
- Bring all the medicines you take to your appointment. This includes:
- Prescription medicines.
- Non-prescription medicines, such as aspirin or antacids.
- Dietary or herbal supplements.
- Write down the questions you have for the visit..
- Know your current medical conditions, past surgeries, and illnesses.
During Your Appointment
- Explain your symptoms, health history, and any problems with medicines you have taken in the past.
- Ask questions to make sure you understand what your doctor is telling you.
- Let your doctor know if you are worried about being able to follow his or her instructions.
- If your doctor recommends a treatment, ask about options.
- If you need a test, ask:
How the test is done.
How it will feel
What you need to do to get ready for it.
How you will get the results.
- If you need a prescription, tell your doctor if you are pregnant, are nursing, have reactions to medicines, or take vitamins or herbal supplements.
- Find out what to do next. Ask for:
- Always follow your doctor's instructions.
- If you do not understand your instructions after you get home, call your doctor
- Talk with your doctor or pharmacist before you stop taking any medicines that your doctor prescribed.
- Call your doctor if your symptoms get worse or if you have problems following the instructions.
- Make appointments to have tests done or see a specialist if you need to.
- Call your doctor's office to find out test results. Ask what you should do about the results.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, supports research that helps people make informed decisions and improves the quality of health care.
AHRQ offers these free resources to help you make decisions about your health care:
- Questions are the Answer: http://www.ahrq.gov/questions
This Web site lets you make a list of questions that you can bring to your medical appointments and gives you tips on talking with your doctor.
- Consumers & Patients: http://www.ahrq.gov/consumerhttp://www.ahrq.gov/consumer
This page links to consumer information on staying healthy, getting high-quality health care, and more.
- Your Medicine: Be Smart. Be Safe: http://www.ahrq.gov/consumer/safemeds/yourmeds.htm
This booklet answers common questions about getting and taking medicines and has a wallet card to help you keep track of your medicines. Order a free copy by calling 1-800-358-9295.