April 01, 2021

Confidently approach your next medical appointment

Ask away

Facing a major procedure or surgery — or even just a checkup — may make you feel anxious or confused. Use these tips to more confidently approach a medical appointment, and to help your care team better meet your needs:

  • Plan ahead — Pause to think about what you want to get from the appointment. What are your goals? Write down and prioritize questions. Bring your list to the appointment and refer to it.
  • Engage in discussion and take notes — You can ask questions such as "How will I receive results from this test?" "Why do you think that's the problem?" "Would you consider this treatment the best of my options?" and "Are there other options I should consider?" For clarification, summarize what you heard and then ask, "Am I understanding that right?"
  • Voice your concerns — If you're worried about anything — such as potential side effects or your ability to follow through with the treatment plan — voice them so that they can be addressed. You can ask for a follow-up appointment to talk further or seek a second opinion from another physician.
  • Call for backup — Consider bringing a trusted friend or family member with you. Let them know if and when you want them to speak up, take notes or leave the room during the appointment.
  • Follow up — Ask "What's the best way to get more information or ask...