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Agency for Healthcare Research Quality

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Talking with Your Doctor

Here are some examples of questions to ask your doctor. It is not a complete list. You will probably have many other questions. You should keep asking questions until you understand what is wrong with you and what you need to do to get better.

Understand your diagnosis:

  • What is wrong with me?
  • What do I need to do to get better?
  • Where can I get more information about my condition?

If you need a lab test, an x-ray, or another kind of test, ask your doctor:

  • How will the test be done?
  • How accurate will the results be?
  • What are the benefits and risks of the test?
  • When and how will I receive the results?
  • What should I do if I don't receive the results?

If you receive a prescription for a new medicine:

  • What is the name of the medicine?
  • What is it supposed to do?
  • When should I take the medicine, and how much should I take?
  • Does the medicine have any side effects?

If you need surgery:

  • What kind of operation do I need?
  • Why do I need an operation?
  • What are the benefits and risks of the operation?
  • How long will it take to recover?
  • What will happen if I don't have the operation?
  • Are there any other treatments I could have instead of an operation?
  • Where can I get a second opinion?

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