How Well Does Your Doctor Know You?
How often does your doctor seem to know the important information about your medical history?
Your doctor needs to know about your medical and family history, as well as your values and beliefs. It is best when you and your doctor talk about this on the first visit.
Ways you can help your doctor know your medical history:
- Tell the doctor about all the prescription drugs you take. Also discuss any vitamins, herbs, remedies, supplements, or over-the-counter medications (such as aspirin or cough medicine) that you use.
- Talk with the doctor about any surgery you have had. Say why you needed the surgery and what happened as a result.
- Discuss your health history. That includes diseases in the past as well as any chronic conditions you have now such as diabetes or heart problems.
- Talk about your family's medical history. This includes the health of your sisters, brothers, parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Many people find it helps to write this ahead of time and bring to the first doctor's appointment.
- Make sure the doctor enters your medical history into your patient record. Your record could be on a computer or in a paper chart.
- Speak up if you think that the doctor, nurse, or others in the office have you confused with someone else. Make sure they are looking at your medical history, not that of someone else.
Does your doctor know you as a person?
This includes knowing about your values and beliefs that can affect your health care choices.
Ways you can help your doctor know you better as a person:
- Discuss values and beliefs that could affect your treatment choices. For instance, tell the doctor if you would refuse blood products or choose not to have certain tests and treatments.
- Let the doctor know if you prefer natural remedies, such as herbal treatments or acupuncture.
- Talk with the doctor about your living situation. Make sure to mention if you care for someone at home, or if you live with someone who cares for you.