How to Speak with Your Healthcare Provider to Make Informed Healthcare Decisions
Before Your Appointment
Make a list of questions and what you want to discuss. Before your appointment, make a list of any questions or concerns.
Come prepared with a list of your medications. Make a list of all medications you take.
Don’t forget other important details. Bring your insurance card and the names of providers you see. Bring any medical records, test results or X-rays that are related to your visit.
During Your Visit
Take notes. Take notes when your provider answers your questions. For tips on how to understand many medical words, click here. You can also find out how to pronounce many medical terms here.
Be sure you understand what was said and what the plan is. If your provider is prescribing a new medication, ordering a test or sending you to a specialist, be sure to ask what it involves.
Ask for information in writing. It’s important to get written instructions on your diagnosis and treatment plan from your provider.
Make decisions with your provider. To get the best care, you and your healthcare provider should make decisions together. This is called “shared decision making.”
Ask about costs of different treatments or choices. FAIR Health’s Medical Cost Lookup Tool can help you estimate provider visit fees, lab test expenses and much more.
After Your Visit
Call your provider’s office if you have more questions. If you have questions after your visit, call your provider’s office.
Follow up on test results and appointments. Contact your provider’s office to find out about your test results and follow-up appointments.
More on Getting the Most Out of Your Visit
Glossaries. Check out FAIR Health’s glossary here. The Health Insurance Marketplace also offers a glossary.
FH® Consumer Classroom App. For more on the basics of health insurance, try our free mobile app, FH Consumer Classroom.
Visiting your doctor or other healthcare provider? Whether you’re seeing your provider online or in person, good communication between you and your provider is key to getting the most out of your visit. Maybe you already have a good relationship with your provider. Or maybe you want him or her to better understand your goals for care and treatment. Here are some tips to maximize your visit and make informed choices about your health.
Your Action Plan: Tips for Talking to Your Provider
- Before your visit, consider making a list of questions and concerns.
- During your visit, take notes and be sure to understand what was said.
- Ask your provider for information about your treatment plan and how to get electronic access of test results, diagnoses and medication details.
- Learn about shared decision making and collaborating with your provider.
- Find out about healthcare costs.
- After your visit, follow up on test results and specialist appointments.