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The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Healthcare 411 audio news source provides practical health care information, research findings, and data to help consumers, health providers, health insurers, researchers, and policymakers make informed decisions about health care issues.

Your health depends on good communication


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.  Quality health care is a team effort. You play an important role. One of the best ways to communicate with your doctor and health care team is by asking questions. Because time is limited during medical appointments, you will feel less rushed if you prepare your questions before your appointment.


Your doctor wants your questions


Doctors know a lot about a lot of things, but they don't always know everything about you or what is best for you.

Your questions give your doctor and health care team important information about you, such as your most important health care concerns.

That is why they need you to speak up.


The 10 questions you should know:

  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. Which 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 that I'm already taking?

Questions to ask before your appointment:

Time is limited during doctor visits. Prepare for your appointment by thinking about what you want to do during your next visit. Do you want to:

  1. Talk about a health problem?

  2. Get or change a medicine?

  3. Get medical tests?

  4. Talk about surgery or treatment options?

Questions to ask during your appointment:

  1. What is my diagnosis?

  2. What are my treatment options? What are the benefits of each option? What are the side effects?

  3. Will I need a test? What is the test for? What will the results tell me?

  4. What will the medicine you are prescribing do? How do I take it? Are there any side effects?

  5. Why do I need surgery? Are there other ways to treat my condition? How often do you perform this surgery?

  6. Do I need to change my daily routine?

Questions to ask after your appointment:

 Create a list of follow-up questions to ask if you:

  1. Have a health problem.

  2. Need to get or change a medicine.

  3. Need a medical test.

  4. Need to have surgery.

Listen to AHRQ Healthcare 411 Podcasts here

Check out these YouTube videos available in English and Spanish.

Click to follow AHRQ on these social media outlets

All links provided by Healthcare 411. U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Rockville, MC.

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