Questions you should always ask a doctor

ask a doctor

The more informed you are about treatments, tests and medications the more you will get out of healthcare. This means that you need to ask a doctor questions that help you qualify the best course of action in any given medical circumstance.

Inquiry about your healthcare means that, alongside your allied health practitioners, you are in a much better position from which to make important health related decisions. Inquiry can also help protect you while receiving healthcare.

Remembering important questions to ask a doctor is a lot easier when you write them down and take them with you to your next appointment. It’s also a handy idea to write down the names of any medications you are taking in case you forget them and to bring a notepad so you can write down anything you learn when you ask a doctor your questions.

The following are a few questions you should ask a doctor the next time you get a chance. Make sure to write down the questions you want answered prior to going to your appointment.

Ask a doctor about specific health issues

  • What is the condition called? Is it known by any other names?
  • How serious is it?
  • What are the causes?
  • Am I able to pass it on to others? Is it contagious?
  • Will it likely get better or worse?
  • Do I need treatment? If so, what kind?
  • Do I need to see any specialists regarding this issue?
  • How long will it last on average?
  • Are there any support organisations for people with this condition? How can I reach out to them?

Ask a doctor about specific health treatments

Treatments can include a wide range of different things including medical procedures, medications and healthy lifestyle changes. Other treatments involve intervention, such as with physiotherapy.

  • What is the treatment and how effective is it?
  • What evidence is there supporting its efficacy? Is it clinically tested?
  • Are there any potential risks or side effects?
  • Are there any other effective treatments? What are they?
  • How long will I need to continue the treatment?
  • What are the consequences if I don’t use the treatment?
  • How much is the treatment going to cost me?
  • How soon will I need to start the treatment?
  • Will the cost of the treatment be covered by Medicare, my concession card or private health cover?
  • Do I absolutely need this treatment?
  • Are there any simpler, less intrusive options?

Ask a doctor about specific medicines

Consider creating a list of medicines you take and any relevant details about them such as dosage and the frequency at which you take them. This information is handy to have when you ask a doctor about changing dosages or medications.

  • What do I need this medicine for?
  • Is there real evidence to support its efficacy?
  • How long will I need to take it for?
  • Are there any side effects of taking this medication?
  • If I experience the side effects, what should I do?
  • Are there any alternative medicines without the side effects?
  • What are the consequences if I don’t take this medicine? Will I get sicker or stay the same?
  • When should I take it?
  • Should I consume it with food or drink?
  • Will it have any interactions with other medicines I take?
  • Should I avoid alcohol while taking this medicine?
  • Do I need to store it in a fridge?
  • If a pharmacist offers me the same medication under a different brand, should I take it?
  • Can I take it during pregnancy?
  • How much will it cost? Is it covered under the PBS, private health insurance or my concession card?

So, next time you go to the clinic, be sure to ask a doctor some of the above questions so you can be a smarter healthcare consumer.