Tips for Partnering with Your Health Care Provider

Get the best care possible during your visit.

Tip 1: Get ready for your visit

Make the most out of your visit with your health care team. Your health care team includes you, health care providers, nurses, and other clinical staff. If you like, the team can also include your family or friends.

Write down your questions and concerns. Use a notebook to keep everything in one place. Choose the most important health questions to ask during the visit.

Gather your medicines. Write down a list of your medicines or bring them with you in a bag so you can let your health care team know what medicines you are taking.

Consider bringing a family member or friend to your visit. They can give you comfort and support and help you keep track of and understand information about your health.

Tip 2: Tell your health care team about your health

Your health care team may know more about medicine, but you know more about you and your body. That is why working together is so important.

If something is important to you, we want to know about it. Be sure to tell your health care team about:

  • The reason for your visit
  • Your symptoms or health problems
  • Your health before the visit
  • Medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements you take
  • Allergies to medicines or foods
  • What makes it hard for you to care for your health
  • Your mental and emotional health that may impact your physical health

Tip 3: Make sure you understand what your health
care team tells you

Repeat what your health care team says in your own words. After your health care team tells you something, try saying, “Let’s make sure I have this right.” Then say the main points back in your own words. This helps your health care team know right away if they did not explain something well. Then they can explain it again more clearly.

Make sure you understand any written instructions provided. Take your own notes. It can be hard to remember all of the information you get during your visit. It may be helpful to write down what the health care team tells you in a notebook.

Ask for more information. Ask your health insurance plan for more information, visit your local library, or ask your health care team about trusted information on the Internet.

Tip 4: Ask questions until you understand the answers

Speak up if something is unclear or confusing. You can say, “I’m not sure I understand what you just said. Can you tell me again?” or “Can you explain that in a different way?”

Remember that you are a key member of your health care team. We want you to ask questions, get the information you need, understand.