Be prepared to speak with your doctor by writing your questions down and bringing the list with you to your appointment. When the doctor answers your questions, be sure to write down his/her responses. If things are not clear, be sure to ask for clarification! Use the lists below as a guide.
About Treatment Options:
• What is the recommended treatment? Are there other choices?
• What are the chances the treatment will work?
• What are the expected results? When will I see them?
• What are the risks?
• What are the benefits?
• Are there any side effects? What can be done about them?
• Is the treatment painful? How can the pain be controlled?
• What happens if I choose to have no treatment at all?
• How much does the treatment cost? Will my health insurance pay for it?
About Prescription Medications:
• What is the name of the medication you have prescribed for me and what is it supposed to do?
• When and for how long should I take the medication? Can I get these directions in writing?
• What should I do if I miss taking this medication?
• How long will I have to take this medication? When can I stop taking it?
• Are there foods, drinks (especially alcohol), other medications, or activities I should avoid while taking this medication?
• Are there common side effects to this medication? What should I do if they occur?
• Will this medication interact with other medications I am currently taking? If so, what can I do to lessen any negative effects?
• How can I learn more about this medication?
About Surgical Procedures:
• Do I really need this surgery? Is there some other way to treat my condition?
• What will happen if I wait until later to have surgery? Or never have it at all?
• How often does this type of surgery help my problem? How much does it help it?
• Where will the surgery be performed?
• Which surgeon will be operating on me?
• What kind of experience does s/he have with this kind of procedure?
• What complications or side effects might I have?
• What kind of pain might I have? How will it be treated?
• How long will it take me to recover?
• Will I need help at home? What kind of help and for how long?
• How much does the surgery cost? Will my health insurance pay for it?
Other questions you should consider:
Source: Agency for Quality Healthcare