Ask your doctor

Think about what your doctor needs to know to treat you

When your doctor knows your medical history, it helps him or her create a treatment plan that’s right for you. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your visit. These reminders also help you when you take your child or parent to the doctor.

  • Write down your questions and bring them with you.
  • Ask a friend or family member to go with you to help take notes and remember what the doctor says.
  • Make a list of your symptoms. Make a list of ALL your medications - prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs that don’t need prescriptions, vitamins, herbal remedies or supplements.
  • List any other doctors you are seeing.
  • Write down the doctor’s name and phone number.
  • Write down if you’ve gone to the emergency room. When did you go? What was the reason?
  • Write down if you’ve seen a specialist. When did you go? What was the reason?

Tell the doctor about your most important problems first. Be honest. Share your medical history. Tell the doctor how you feel, and if your symptoms have changed or gotten worse.

Questions you’ll want to ask your doctor

  • What’s my problem?
  • What must I do next?
  • Do I need tests? What kind?
  • How do I prepare for them?
  • Do I need treatment?
  • Why do I need it?
  • Are there side effects?
  • Are there different treatments?

Answer all of your doctor’s questions
It’s normal to sometimes feel embarrassed. But you and your doctor are a team. The more you share, the more the doctor can help you. Write down what the doctor says or have the person who’s with you take notes.

We want you to have the best health care experience possible. But sometimes a visit to your health care provider may not go as well as you’d like. Maybe you forgot to ask an important question. Maybe you didn’t know the answer to all the questions your provider asked, such as the names of the medicines you’re taking. Maybe you found it hard to remember everything your provider told you to do.

This happens to many people. Don’t worry. There’s something you can do to take control. Ask Me 3™ is a program started by the Partnership for Clear Health Communication. The program gives you three questions to ask your provider during a health care visit.

They are:

  • What is my main problem?
  • What do I need to do?
  • Why is it important for me to do this?

These three questions help prepare you for the visit and help you understand what your provider tells you.

  • Ask your doctor or nurse to repeat anything you don’t understand.
  • Schedule a follow-up appointment, if necessary.

 Your next step is to follow your doctor’s instructions.