Communicating with your Doctor

Talking with your doctor might be scary for you. You may even have that “white coat” syndrome issue where going into a doctor’s office elevates your stress levels enough to raise your heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety. Here are some strategies to use — whether you get anxious or not — when visiting with your physician.

  1. Make a list of your questions and concerns.

You might even consider emailing or faxing your list ahead of time. Many of your questions might easily be answered by a physician’s assistant or nurse, so you can always ask if you might have time with them first. This means the doctor’s time with you will be spent only on what he does best.

2. Take a pencil and paper to make notes, or tape-record your visit (with the doctor’s permission of course).

You might also bring a friend who is better informed on medical matters with you to take notes and ask questions you may not know. That will provide a resource to help you understand any complicated instructions or issues. But be aware of the doctor’s limited time and stay focused on three or four questions that you feel are most important to understand. If you need more time, either let the scheduler know in advance or make another appointment to discuss further.

3. Keep asking for what you need to know.

Find out explanations of treatment goals, side effects, or if there is someone else that could answer your questions.

4. Be informative.

Make sure your doctor has all the most current information about you, your medications, other physicians seen, or treatments you are receiving. Then share results of any medical tests you have had recently. Tell your physician if you only want the basic information or if you want all the details. And, while you’re at it, let him know about any religious restrictions or cultural beliefs that will affect your treatment plan.

Don’t forget to show your appreciation for the time he spends with you and the great treatment you’ve been provided. Get the answers you need but always remember your physician has many pulls on his time and, if nothing else, use his time with you wisely.

Dr. Gil Lederman is one of the finest Doctors in the United States. He has certification in Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology and Internal Medicine. He is amongst the top-notch Doctors in the United States.