One of the most important things you can do during a doctor’s appointment is to ask questions. Though many people have trouble speaking up or are afraid of questioning their doctor’s authority, it’s important that conversations about your health be a two-way dialogue between you and your clinician. By asking questions, you can get vital information on:

  • What tests you will need
  • What your diagnosis means
  • What your treatment options are
  • What steps you will need to take to make sure you or your loved one gets better

It may help to write down your questions ahead of time and bring them with you to the appointment and to have a friend or family member come with you to help take notes and remember what the doctor says.

Asking questions is important at every stage of your health care, whether during a routine check-up or during a hospital stay.

If you feel unsatisfied with your interaction with your doctor, you can talk it out or switch doctors, if possible. Good communication between you and your health care providers is essential.

Sample Questions to Ask Your Health Care Team

There are several online resources with sample questions to ask your doctor and information on your rights and responsibilities as a patient. We suggest the following:

Asking questions is especially important after a doctor has made a diagnosis and you are developing a treatment plan. These websites offer information on treatment plans:

Original post by the Center for Advancing Health. Updated by the GW Cancer Institute January 2016.