Talking With Your Doctor or Health Care Provider

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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)

You can play an active role in your health care by talking with your doctor or health care provider. Clear and honest communication between you and your physician or health care team can help you both make informed 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 or health care provider— 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 or health care provider 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 or health care provider say 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 or health care provider’s contact information and their preferred method of communication.
  • Remember that nurses and pharmacists are also good sources of information.

How to Talk with your Doctor

  • ,NIH News in Health
  • , NIH News in Health 貹ñDZ


  • , National Institute on Aging (NIA)
  • , National Institute on Aging (NIA)


  • ,National Cancer Institute (NCI)
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  • , National Cancer Institute (NCI)
  • , National Cancer Institute (NCI) 貹ñDZ

Complementary and Integrative Health

  • , National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)


  • , National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

Mental Health

  • , National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

This page last reviewed on November 30, 2023