List of questions for the doctor
Have you ever gone to the doctor’s with a load of questions, spent ages in the waiting room, only to be rushed through the appointment – with hardly any time to talk or be examined – and then leave the doctor’s practice with many of your questions unanswered? Making a note of the most important questions before going to the doctor’s can help you to get the answers you need.
Many people forget to ask their doctor questions that are important to them. Some are afraid of using up too much of the doctor’s noticeably precious time, or interrupting him or her to ask questions. They may also get the impression during the consultation that their questions aren’t important enough, or they may be embarrassed to admit that they didn’t understand something. Being well prepared can help to make sure this doesn’t happen, by
- knowing which information you need,
- not losing confidence during the appointment,
- not forgetting the questions you wanted to ask,
- remembering what you talked about and any important information afterwards,
- talking with your friends and family – and perhaps other doctors – about important aspects of your medical condition and treatment decisions after the appointment,
- coping better with the medical condition.
What questions do you have? Which of them are most important to you? You will find some examples in the list below. Not all of them will apply to you and your situation, but don’t let that bother you – some questions may only be relevant for other, very different, medical conditions. There’s no need to “work your way down” the whole list, of course. On the contrary: Selecting a few questions and then narrowing down the selection will help you find out what’s important to you, and what isn’t.
You can choose up to six questions to ask your doctor, and print them out to take along to the appointment. Make sure that he or she actually answers the questions during the appointment.
At the end of the appointment you can ask yourself the following:
- Do I understand what medical condition I have, and how it will affect me?
- Do I know exactly what needs to be done and what I can do myself?
- Am I aware of the pros and cons of the recommended diagnostic procedures or treatments?
If you still aren’t sure about something, ask again or make another appointment.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Questions To Ask Your Doctor. September 2015.
Bundesärztekammer (BÄK), Kassenärztlichen Bundesvereinigung (KBV), Ärztliches Zentrum für Qualität in der Medizin (ÄZQ). Woran erkennt man eine gute Arztpraxis? Checkliste für Patientinnen und Patienten. 2015. (ÄZQ Schriftenreihe; Volume 43).
Patientenuniversität Medizinische Hochschule Hannover. Im Krankheitsfall nützlich. Was Sie fragen und wissen sollten. 2015.
IQWiG health information is written with the aim of helping
people understand the advantages and disadvantages of the main treatment options and health
Because IQWiG is a German institute, some of the information provided here is specific to the German health care system. The suitability of any of the described options in an individual case can be determined by talking to a doctor. informedhealth.org can provide support for talks with doctors and other medical professionals, but cannot replace them. We do not offer individual consultations.
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