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Communicating with Your Doctor

You are in a health partnership with your doctor, so you need to be an active participant in your care. Here are a few tips for communicating with your physician:

  • Be organized before arriving at the doctor's office. Come prepared with information about your symptoms, how long you have had the symptoms, what -- if anything -- you have done to treat them at home. Also, be prepared to discuss your lifestyle, habits, etc.
  • Bring a list of medications you take including dosage and frequency (or the actual medication bottles).
  • Also before your visit, prepare a list of questions you may have about your symptoms or condition. Check off the questions as they are answered so you know you have covered everything.
  • Be prepared to talk about your family's medical history, as well as your own, including any major medical events. Bring a list of your immunizations and medical history, if possible.
  • Make sure you provide your doctor with complete information about your condition   --  don't hold back. This may mean relating some very personal information, but it is in your best interest to help the doctor determine the best course of treatment.
  • Take notes during your visit and mark items that you want to follow-up on before you finish your visit.
  • Ask plenty of questions and make sure you understand the answers. Ask the doctor to explain the answer in a way that you can understand.
  • Explore all treatment possibilities together to help you come up with an educated decision about your treatment plan.
  • Before your appointment is over, briefly repeat back to your doctor what was said to make sure you have understood and your notes are accurate.
  • Follow through completely with the agreed-upon treatment. If it is not working, inform your doctor as soon as possible.
  • Find out the best way your doctor would like for you to follow up, either phone calls, e-mail or another office visit.
  • After you leave and you have forgotten to ask your doctor something, don't be afraid to contact your doctor's office and get your question answered.
  • Be assertive, but not aggressive, to make sure the doctor is meeting your needs.
  • Before and after your appointment, feel comfortable doing some independent research on your own about your condition.


For help in finding an OSU doctor, contact our physician referral service at (614) 293-5123 or 1-800-293-5123.