The very short period of time we see a health care provider can seem overwhelming, especially since we live with chronic illness every day. To make the most of each office visit it is important to be prepared and know exactly what you would like to get out of each visit. Most office visit last from a half an hour to an hour, so figuring out exactly the right questions to ask your health care provider prior to the appointment can help tremendously. Below are examples of questions to ask that will help to get the right conversation going between you and your health care provider.
How can you prepare to ask the right questions from your health care provider?
– Each visit is about informing the health care provider about the issues you are having and giving an update on your health. This usual rhythm is; telling the health care provider what is going on, asking questions, then creating the next steps with your health care provider.
– Inform the health care provider about your symptoms, along with what you have tried that works and doesn’t work.
– When going in to see a care provider, there might be a layer of people you could potentially see before you see the main health care provider. The questions that you have should be asked directly to the person you intended to see.
– Ask your caregiver if there are any questions you may not have thought about, along with coming up with a plan with them about who will ask the questions in the actual appointment.
– How many questions should you ask per visit? I’m a strong believer in asking all your questions. Write down the pieces you want to talk about in an order from the most important to least important. This way you will get to what you need the most. Within those topics, you will ask several questions. Don’t worry about having a limit, rather focus on getting the information you are paying for and that you need. Your health care journey is so important and your time can be limited with a health care provider, so figure out what is the most important to you and make sure you get all your questions answered.
– Make sure to write down all your questions you have, so when you get in the office you don’t forget anything you want to talk about. To make this task easier, look at the Question Packet on the Nuanced Living Shop. (Also in large font!)
What Questions to ask.
– These are the symptoms I am having. Do you have any recommendations?
– Can you explain that test/medicine/medical term?
– Can you explain what about my anatomy is different or what my diagnosis is affecting?
– What will the next few steps look like?
– How long do you think it will take to diagnose the problem?
– What does the path of _____ really look like if I am diagnosed with ______?
– What are all the treatment options?
– What do you recommend the most out of all treatment options?
– Is there any side effects with the treatment(s) that I should be aware of?
– Will the treatments affect any other treatments I am currently doing or any other diagnosis I have?
– Is there anything I should change about my routine? Exercise or don’t exercise? Don’t eat a certain type of food? Not take a certain supplement?
– How long should I take the medicine to find out if it works or doesn’t work? Does the medicine require a process to come off of?
– Based on my insurance what are the treatments/surgeries that I can actually do? (Note: not all insurances will pay for different types of treatments or procedures. You can always ask the billing office for a rough estimate of how much it will cost if insurance won’t pay for it.)
– I don’t feel comfortable with that kind of treatment, are there other ways to treat it?
– How long do I have to make a decision about moving forward?
– How many times have you done this procedure?
– When will I get the results?
– How will I get the results?
– What is the test/procedure/surgery for? What will we find from it?
– How is the test/procedure/surgery different here than other health care systems?
– When will we be in contact again?
– When should my next appointment be scheduled for?
– What is the best way to contact the health care provider if I have questions before my next appointment?
– Can I have a summary of the visit? If you want the health care provider to write down specific diagnosis or test, ask them to write it down in the office visit summary.
– Do you recommend any specific sources for finding extended information on my diagnosis?
T r u l y , L i n d y