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.
don't understand something your doctor says or does, ask about
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
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.
Get the right advice
Having more than one health
problem can be confusing. You may have problems understanding what you're
supposed to do for each health problem.
You may be told to use
corticosteroid medicines for COPD, but also to avoid
them because you have
One doctor may want you to
exercise a certain way, but another one may say you need to avoid
One doctor may suggest a surgery at one hospital, but you
may want to use another hospital.
One doctor may order a
CT scan, but you think you just had one last month for
If you receive different directions from different doctors:
Say so right away. Ask the one doctor to call
the other and talk about the best approach.
Contact your primary care
doctor. Ask him or her to help you find what you need to
Remember that it's your team, and your wishes are important.
For example, if a hospital close to you and one farther away have the same
care, tell your team that distance matters when choosing a
Don't act until you are sure. For example, if you think
you've just had a test, don't schedule another until you know whether you need
it or already have had it.