Healthcare News & Insights

5 things doctors wish their patients did

Patients may feel their health care providers don’t communicate well, but doctors and nurses point out communication is a two-way street.

There are a few easy steps patients can take before, during and after their appointments to make it easier for both sides to get the information they need. Here are five tips to make your appointments more productive and efficient — and give your doctor the info he or she needs to give you the best care.

  1. Be open to other diagnoses — Few of us are immune to the paranoid pleasure of making a self-diagnoses based on thigns we’ve read online. Sometimes that diagnosis is even right! But doctors say too often, patients come into the exam room convinced their symptoms mean one thing — and then they’re skeptical when the doctor offers an alternative diagnosis or treatment.
  2. Be honest — Don’t be shy  about sharing your sexual history, assume the joint you smoke when you go hiking “doesn’t count” or forget to mention the half dozen nutritional supplements you take. Or if you haven’t been taking a medication that was prescribed, or working out like you had been, let your doctor know that too. They don’t want you to tell them what they want to hear — they want to know what’s actually going on in your life so they can offer the best advice
  3. Come prepared — A prepared patient is a healthier patient. Writing down even apparently minor symptoms or questions that have come up since your last visit gives your doctor a better idea of your overall health and saves time for both of you. This is one time where the axiom that there’s no such thing as a stupid question is really true.
  4. Take notes, and ask questions — Any good doctor understands that some medical terminology or explanations will go over the heads of patients. Take notes of any advice or recommendations your doctor makes. And if you need something explained again — or in a different way — let them know. Any doctor who isn’t willing to take the extra few minutes to make sure you fully understand what s/he is telling you isn’t a doctor you want to go back to. 
  5. Keep your follow-up appointments — They don’t exist just to pad doctors’ coffers. While they often seem like time-wasters to patients, those follow-up visits help doctors keep tabs on how your treatment or condition is progressing. Doctors said they were the most important part of a solid preventative health plan.

Subscribe Today

Get the latest and greatest healthcare news and insights delivered to your inbox.


  1. […] 10. 5 things doctors wish more of the patients would do […]