Communicating Better With Your Doctor

How Patients Can Communicate Better With Doctors


When your doctor communicates well, you are more likely to feel that he or she is well informed and caring. You can also better understand your diagnosis, treatment, and how to care for yourself at home. Your doctor's clear and honest communication can help you stay healthy, or if you are sick, get better faster.

Research suggests that patients who take an active role in the doctor-patient relationship by asking questions, stating their symptoms clearly, and interrupting when necessary, have better outcomes.

Below are questions you can answer about experiences with your doctor. There also are lists of ways that patients can help make care better.

Does your doctor explain things in ways that are easy to understand?

Here are some ways that you can help your doctor better explain things to you:

How often does your doctor listen carefully to you?

Doctors should communicate with patients in ways that are clear, honest, and easy to understand. Studies show that this type of communication can help patients stay healthy or if sick, get better faster.

Here are some ways you can help your doctor listen better to what you have to say:

How often does your doctor show respect for what you say?

Good communication means that doctors explain things clearly, listen carefully, and show respect.

Here are some things you can do to help your doctor better understand and respect you:

How often does your doctor spend enough time with you?

Even though doctors are very busy, there are many reasons not to rush when meeting with patients. Studies show that when doctors spend more time with patients, they tend to write fewer prescriptions. When not rushed, doctors also have more time to talk with patients about ways to stay healthy and prevent or detect diseases.

Here are some actions you can take to help your doctor spend enough time with you:

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