The Twenty Five Most Important Questions: How to Partner Well With Your Physician

Patients OR Patience?

ISMIE, a mutual Insurance Company has provided us with an important tool to create an environment between patient and physician that is optimal.  We all know that today we must be our own advocates when it comes to our healthcare.  I am listing the ISMIE suggestions as a present(!) to my readers on this Friday, The 13th.  Today is also Worldwide National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Day.

What To Do Before Your Physician Visit

Think about what you want to discuss:

  • Symptoms & Issues
  • Length of time you’ve had them
  • Any treatments you’ve tried; over the counter, herbals
  • Changes since your last visit; starting or stopping med’s, lifestyle events, or major life changes.
  • For routine check-ups think about any new issues
  • Perhaps write down your thoughts and bring them to your appointment.

Bring in a list of all medications(or put on smart phone), vitamins, supplements and herbals to your visit.

Consider asking a friend to come along if:

  • You need help asking/answering questions or giving your physician info.
  • You anticipate it being a stressful visit.
  • You are feeling anxiety and want a familiar person along.

Inform Your Physician of Any:

  • Language needs
  • Hearing or sight impairments
  • Allergies
  • Other needs

Share With Your Physician:

  • Symptoms that have been bothering you. For example, recurring headaches.
  • What you think may be happening. For example, “My med’s are making me dizzy”
  • Worries about your symptoms. For example, “I may have to quit my job.”
  • How symptoms impact your daily life. For example,” I am out of breath climbing steps.”
  • Important medical info about you and your family. For example, “My father had lung cancer.”

Ask Questions:

  • If uncertain why you are being asked to take a test. For example, “Why Do I have to have my blood tested?”
  • If your physician isn’t clear when he communicates; For example, “What do you mean when it could be neurological?”
  • If you think you can’t comply with physician’s recommendations; For example, “I’m not sure I can get to the gym every day.”
  • If you want other options for your problem; For example, “Are there any options other than surgery?”

Make Sure You Know:

  • What your physician thinks is happening, what you need to do and why it is important.

Next Steps:

  • Repeat in your own words what actions you need to take.
  • Tell the physician to explain words you don’t understand.
  • Ask the physician to write down instructions for you to use at home.
  • Have physician write down names of referral’s, by name, speciality and the reason you are being referred.


  • Ask the best way to communicate with the office with questions. For example, phone, email, website.

The End

I hope this post will be useful for you.  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that today is National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Day.  The Lustgarten Foundation, the largest Foundation to raise money for pancreatic research, has a donor who is willing to match any donations made by the end of the year. Please join and my pledge to Match for Marilyn, my mom, who was diagnosed on the morning of 9/11 and passed away five months later on Valentine’s Day. #TeamcurePC

Thanks and Happy Friday, the 13th!


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