Ask Your Doctor Questions. Get Better Care.

Patients who go to the doctor prepared with the questions they want answered get better care, according to the federal government’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

They have a new website that can help you start the communication with your doctor, even before you get to your appointment.

AHRQ says,

Asking questions and providing information to your doctor and other care providers can improve your care. Talking with your doctor builds trust and leads to better results, quality, safety, and satisfaction.

They suggest beginning with these ten critical questions during your medical visit:

  1. What is the test for?
  2. How many times have you done this procedure?
  3. When will I get the results?
  4. Why do I need this treatment?
  5. Are there any alternatives?
  6. What are the possible complications?
  7. What hospital is best for my needs?
  8. How do you spell the name of that drug?
  9. Are there any side effects?
  10. Will this medicine interact with medicines I am already taking?

You can build your own set of questions using AHRQ’s online Question Builder.

Molly Glassman is her mother’s advocate.  Sometimes she worries that asking questions will “rub her Mom’s doctors or nurses the wrong way” and affect quality of care.  But her experience is very different and asking questions helped her mother. Watch her talk about getting a medicine that harmed her mom changed and making sure the change got communicated to the nursing staff and the computer.

It is important to write down the questions you want answered.  In busy medical practices, having three most important questions at the top of your list makes sure your most serious concerns get answered.


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