Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Working With More Than One Doctor

Font Size

Topic Overview

Many people see more than one doctor or health professional. Your primary care doctor, such as your internist or family doctor, may refer you to another doctor for a problem. You may see a specialist for another health concern. You may need a surgeon.

Having many doctors can help you get the best care, but it also can cause problems. If you don't talk often to your doctors, or if your doctors don't talk to each other, you may:

Recommended Related to Health A-Z

Lysosomal Free Sialic Acid Storage Disorders

Important It is possible that the main title of the report Lysosomal Free Sialic Acid Storage Disorders is not the name you expected.

Read the Lysosomal Free Sialic Acid Storage Disorders article > >

  • Be confused about which medicines you need to take.
  • Not know which doctor to ask about a health problem.
  • Be asked the same questions over and over, or be asked to repeat a medical test.
  • Become frustrated because you're getting different advice on your treatment.
  • Be more likely to experience medical errors.

You can avoid or reduce these problems and make things easier on yourself by working with your doctors. Below are some things you can do.

Have a health care team

When you have many doctors, think of them as your team. Tell each doctor that you expect him or her to talk with the other doctors about your care.

  • Write down your doctors' names and what they do in your care. Give each doctor a copy of this information.
  • Ask your primary care doctor to coordinate your care. He or she will know all the tests, medicines, and treatments you are getting and help you with any problems.
  • Ask your other doctors to tell your primary care doctor their treatment plans, including tests, medicines, physical therapy, surgeries, and food or exercise suggestions or limitations.
  • Ask your primary care doctor to help you list all your medical problems and treatment plans. This will help you and your doctor track your care and find problems more easily.

If you are being treated for both physical and mental health problems, be sure all your doctors know this. One problem can affect another problem. For example, a mental health symptom may make it hard to know that you have a physical problem. And some of the medicines used for mental health problems can lead to physical problems or make them worse.

Work with your team

Here are some ideas for working with your health care team:

  • Ask about all your health problems when you see a doctor, but focus on your biggest needs or questions.
  • If you don't understand something your doctor says or does, ask about it.
  • Try to schedule doctor visits and tests on the same day and in the same part of town. This will help you save time and will be more convenient.
  • Ask your doctors or their staff how long visits will take, including time in the waiting room. Knowing what to expect can ease your feelings about the time you spend on your health care.
  • Ask your doctors if you can use email to ask questions and forward the answers to your other doctors. The answer you get from one doctor is important for other doctors to know. Be sure to ask about email security and the types of questions best asked in email.
  • Ask your doctors to share your test results with you and the other doctors. You don't want to have to do the same test twice or wait for days while one doctor asks for the results of a test from another doctor.
1|2

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 02, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Working With More Than One Doctor Topics

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

hands on abdomen
Can you catch one?
Woman sitting in front of UV lights
Is yours working?
woman using breath spray
What's causing yours?
womans hand on abdomen
Are you ready for baby?
MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
bowl of yogurt with heart shape
Eat for a healthy heart.
woman doing pushups
To help you get fit.
Colored x-ray of tooth decay
Know what to look for.
Woman sitting with child
Do you know the symptoms?
mosquito
Stings, bites, burns, and more.
Allentown, PA
Are you living in one?
Thyroid exam
See how much you know.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.