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Talking to Your Doctor | National Institutes of Health (NIH)

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Home » Institutes at NIH » NIH Office of the Director » Office of Communications & Public Liaison » Clear Communication

Clear Communication

Talking to Your Doctor

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Part I: Preparing for Your Medical Appointment (4:37)

Part II: Talking Openly with Your Medical Provider (3:51)

Part III: Understanding Diagnosis and Treatment (3:57)

More Resources from NIH

You can play an active role in your health care by talking to your doctor. Clear and honest communication between you and your physician can help you both make smart choices about your health. It’s important to be honest and upfront about your symptoms even if you feel embarrassed or shy. Have an open dialogue with your doctor — ask questions to make sure you understand your diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.

Here are a few tips that can help you talk to your doctor and make the most of your appointment:

  • Write down a list of questions and concerns before your appointment.
  • Consider bringing a close friend or family member with you.
  • Take notes about what the doctor says, or ask a friend or family member to take notes for you.
  • Learn how to access your medical records, so you can keep track of test results, diagnoses, treatments plans, and medications and prepare for your next appointment.
  • Ask for the doctor’s contact information and their preferred method of communication.
  • Remember that nurses and pharmacists are also good sources of information.

How to Talk to your Doctor

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This page last reviewed on December 10, 2018

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