Skip Navigation U.S. Department of Health and Human Services www.hhs.gov
Agency for Healthcare Research Quality www.ahrq.gov
Archive print banner

Be Prepared for Medical Appointments

Build Your Question List

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: https://info.ahrq.gov. Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

Please go to www.ahrq.gov for current information.


Improving health care quality is a team effort. You can improve your care and the care of your loved ones by taking an active role in your health care. Ask questions. Understand your condition. Evaluate your options.

Select to download print version (PDF File, 95 KB). PDF Help.

Go to Online Store



Contents

Did your clinician give you a prescription?
Are you scheduled to have medical tests?
Did you recently receive a diagnosis?
Are you considering treatment for an illness or condition?
Did your clinician recently recommend surgery?
Are you choosing a health plan?
Are you choosing a clinician?
Are you choosing a hospital?
Are you choosing long-term care?

Did your clinician give you a prescription?

Ask:

What is the name of the medicine?

__________________________________

How do you spell the name?

__________________________________

Can I take a generic version of this medicine?

__________________________________

What is the medicine for?

__________________________________

How am I supposed to take it?

__________________________________

When should I take my medicine?

__________________________________

How much medicine should I take?

__________________________________

How long do I need to take the medicine?

__________________________________

When will the medicine start working?

__________________________________

Can I stop taking my medicine if I feel better?

__________________________________

Can I get a refill?

__________________________________

Are there any side effects?

__________________________________

When should I tell someone about a side effect?

__________________________________

Do I need to avoid any food, drinks, or activities?

__________________________________

Does this new prescription mean I should stop taking any other medicines I'm taking now?

__________________________________

Can I take vitamins with my prescription?

__________________________________

What should I do if I forget to take my medicine?

__________________________________

What should I do if I accidentally take more than the recommended dose?

__________________________________

Is there any written information I can take home with me?

__________________________________

Are there any tests I need to take while I'm on this medicine?

__________________________________

Return to Contents

Are you scheduled to have medical tests?

Ask:

What is the test for?

__________________________________

How is the test done?

__________________________________

Will the test hurt?

__________________________________

How accurate is the test?

__________________________________

Is this test the only way to find out that information?

__________________________________

What are the benefits and risks of having this test?

__________________________________

What do I need to do to prepare for the test?

__________________________________

How many times have you performed the test?

__________________________________

When will I get the results?
_______________________________________

What will the results tell me?
_______________________________________

What's the next step after the test?
_______________________________________

Return to Contents

Did you recently receive a diagnosis?

Ask:

What is my diagnosis?
_______________________________________

What is the technical name of my disease or condition, and what does it mean in plain English?
_______________________________________

What is my prognosis (outlook for the future)?
_______________________________________

What changes will I need to make?
_______________________________________

Is there a chance that someone else in my family might get the same condition?
_______________________________________

Will I need special help at home for my condition?
_______________________________________

Is there any treatment?
_______________________________________

What are my treatment options?
_______________________________________

How soon do I need to make a decision about treatment?
_______________________________________

What are the benefits and risks associated with my treatment options?
_______________________________________

Is there a clinical trial (research study) that is right for me?
_______________________________________

Will I need any additional tests?
_______________________________________

What organizations and resources do you recommend for support and information?
_______________________________________

Return to Contents

Are you considering treatment for an illness or condition?

Ask:

What are my treatment options?
_______________________________________

What do you recommend?
_______________________________________

Is the treatment painful?
_______________________________________

How can the pain be controlled?
_______________________________________

What are the benefits and risks of this treatment?
_______________________________________

How much does this treatment cost?
_______________________________________

Will my health insurance cover the treatment?
_______________________________________

What are the expected results?
_______________________________________

When will I see results from the treatment?
_______________________________________

What are the chances the treatment will work?
_______________________________________

Are there any side effects?
_______________________________________

What can be done about them?
_______________________________________

How soon do I need to make a decision about treatment?
_______________________________________

What happens if I choose to have no treatment at all?
_______________________________________

Return to Contents

Did your clinician recently recommend surgery?

Ask:

Why do I need surgery?
_______________________________________

What kind of surgery do I need?
_______________________________________

What will you be doing?
_______________________________________

What are the benefits and risks of having this surgery?
_______________________________________

Have you done this surgery before?
_______________________________________

How successful is this surgery?
_______________________________________

Which hospital is best for this surgery?
_______________________________________

Will the surgery hurt?
_______________________________________

Will I need anesthesia?
_______________________________________

How long will the surgery take?
_______________________________________

How long will it take me to recover?
_______________________________________

How long will I be in the hospital?
_______________________________________

What will happen after the surgery?
_______________________________________

How much will the surgery cost?
_______________________________________

Will my health insurance cover the surgery?
_______________________________________

Is there some other way to treat my condition?
_______________________________________

What will happen if I wait or don't have this surgery?
_______________________________________

Where can I get a second opinion?
_______________________________________

Return to Contents

Are you choosing a health plan?

Ask:

What are my options?
_______________________________________

Does this health plan provide the benefits and services I need?
_______________________________________

Does this health plan offer the clinicians and hospitals I want?
_______________________________________

Can I afford this health plan?
_______________________________________

Return to Contents

Are you choosing a clinician?

Ask:

Is this clinician part of my health plan?
_______________________________________

Does this clinician have the background and training I need?
_______________________________________

Is this clinician able to work at the hospital I like?
_______________________________________

Can I talk to this clinician and ask questions easily?
_______________________________________

Does this clinician listen to me?
_______________________________________

Does this clinician wash his or her hands between examining each patient?
_______________________________________

Return to Contents

Are you choosing a hospital?

Ask:

Which hospital has the best care for my condition?
_______________________________________

Is this hospital covered by my health insurance?
_______________________________________

Does the hospital meet national quality standards?
_______________________________________

How does the hospital compare with others in my area?
_______________________________________

Has the hospital had success with my condition?
_______________________________________

Does my clinician have privileges (is allowed to work) at this hospital?
_______________________________________

How well does the hospital check and improve on its own quality of care?
_______________________________________

Return to Contents

Are you choosing long-term care?

Ask:

What kind of services do I need?
_______________________________________

What are my care options?
_______________________________________

Will my health insurance cover long-term care?
_______________________________________

Will this facility meet my needs?
_______________________________________

How is this care facility rated?
_______________________________________

Return to Contents

More Information

For more information, go to: http://www.ahrq.gov/questionsaretheanswer

Current as of May 2007
AHRQ Publication No. 07-0039-A

 

The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.

 

AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care