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Ask Your Doctors

When you visit your doctor it is important that you ask questions. This allows you to work with your physician to achieve the best results and obtain the most appropriate care. Often it is difficult to think of questions at the time of your examination. We suggest you write them down before you go to the doctor. One way to do this is to think about your questions and divide them into these five categories:

Make sure you know how to spell the medical terms and understand what they mean.

Be sure you can pronounce and spell them and understand how often you should take them and at what strength. Ask why they are needed. Be sure to tell the physician about all other medications you are taking so that there is no chance of a bad interaction between drugs. This includes over-the-counter medications. Many doctors suggest bringing all the medicine containers with you so there is no confusion about names or dosages.

Be sure you tell your doctor about any side effects you are experiencing from medications you are taking. Changes may be made in the strength or type of medication to eliminate the problem.

Finally, it is a good idea to write down the answers to your questions so you do not have to depend on your memory later. Bring a friend or your spouse to the appointment to assist with this task. Many patients bring a small tape recorder with them so they can listen to the information again when they get home. Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions and record the answers. Your physician and other members of your health care team want you to understand so you can fully participate in your health care.

If you are still uncomfortable about what questions to ask, the University of Michigan Physician Referral Service can help you. If you wish to make an appointment, call the University of Michigan Physician Referral Service toll-free at 1-800-211-8181.