Take Control of Your Health choosing Wisely - Work with Your Doctor and Ask Questions

The patient-physician relationship is one of the most important partnerships you will have in your life. You'll be sharing important personal and confidential information about your health, lifestyle and medical concerns. And, when your doctor suggests a treatment, screening or drug, you should be able to ask questions and be a partner in decisions that impact your health and pocketbook.

Make a decision checklist of what type of doctor and office you prefer. Once you've selected a physician, tour the potential doctor's location. Did you meet and like the doctor? Do they have the specialists you need there? Are walk-ins available? Is it convenient to get to? And are there other services on-site, like lab work or a pharmacy? When your doctor recommends a drug, treatment or test, be sure to ask if it's appropriate for you.

To help guide your discussion with your doctor, we've included a list of articles below from "Consumer Reports" and other patient friendly groups.

Selecting a Doctor

Watch our video, Being a partner with your doctor.

To help guide your discussion with your doctor, we've included a list of articles below from "Consumer Reports" and other patient friendly groups.

Information from the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality

  • Be More Involved with Your Care This brochure gives you tips to use before, during, and after your medical appointment to make sure you get the best possible care. Select for a card to list the questions you want to ask during your medical visits. Patients who talk with their doctors tend to be happier with their care and have better medical results.
  • Questions to Ask Your Doctor Asking questions and providing information to your doctor and other care providers can improve your care. Talking with your doctor builds trust and leads to better results, quality, safety, and satisfaction.
    Quality health care is a team effort. You play an important role. One of the best ways to communicate with your doctor and health care team is by asking questions. Because time is limited during medical appointments, you will feel less rushed if you prepare your questions before your appointment.
  • Patient & Clinician Videos In these short videos, patients talk about how simple questions can help you take better care of yourself, feel better, and get the right care at the right time. Doctors and nurses talk about how your questions help them take better care of you and give advice on how you can be an active member of your health care team and get your questions answered.
  • Create Your Own Questions for the Doctor Be prepared for your next medical appointment. Create a list of questions that you can take with you whether you are getting a checkup, talking about a problem or health condition, getting a prescription, or discussing a medical test or surgery. Whatever the reason for your visit, it is important to be prepared. With the Question Builder, it is easy.


  • Ask your advocate to Speak Up!
  • Ask your advocate to Speak Up!

    11/22/2013
    From: The Joint Commission
    Your advocate can be a partner in your care, helping you through every step of your treatment. Watch this video and ask your advocate to Speak Up!
    Visit the Website
  • Avoiding Too Much Treatment
  • Avoiding Too Much Treatment

    07/01/2008
    From: Consumer Reports
    Aggressive medical care can lead to more pain, with no gain.
    Main Article
  • Communicating With Your Doctor
  • Communicating With Your Doctor

    05/10/2013
    From: Consumer Reports
    Face to face with your doctor? With just a few minutes to explain your concerns, be examined, and hear about your options? That can be daunting.

    Here are some pointers for holding up your end of the conversation, encouraging collaboration, and getting the most from your appointment.
    Main Article
  • Doctor-Patient Relationships
  • Doctor-Patient Relationships

    05/10/2013
    From: Consumer Reports
    Doctors often order tests and recommend drugs or procedures when they shouldn't sometimes even when they know they shouldn't. In fact, nearly half of primary-care physicians say their own patients get too much medical care, according to a survey published in 2011 by researchers at Dartmouth College. 
    Main Article
  • GERD or Acid Reflux Disease
  • GERD or Acid Reflux Disease

    09/23/2011
    From: AHRQ
    This summary describes GERD and explains research about types of treatment. It also talks about what research has found about the benefits and risks of each treatment. It can help you talk with your doctor about GERD.
    Main Article
    Spanish Version
  • Getting the Best Price on Drugs
  • Getting the Best Price on Drugs

    12/01/2011
    From: Consumer Reports
    High prices can keep people from buying the drugs they need. But there are things you can do to save money on drugs—and sometimes a lot of money.
    Main Article
    Spanish Version
  • High Cholesterol: A Guide for Adults
  • High Cholesterol: A Guide for Adults

    09/01/2009
    From: AHRQ
    Keeping your cholesterol at a good level can help lower your chance of heart attacks and strokes. This guide can help you talk with your doctor or nurse about medicines to treat high cholesterol. It covers: Different kinds of cholesterol medicines. How the medicines work. Side effects of cholesterol medicines.
    Main Article
    Spanish Version
  • Hospital Survival Guide: Before Admission
  • Hospital Survival Guide: Before Admission

    02/08/2013
    From: Consumer Reports
    You do not always have time to plan for a hospital admission. But most often you do, even if it’s just a few days. Planning for that visit can lead to better care and faster care. So use that time to take these steps:
    Main Article
  • Hospital Survival Guide: Checkin
  • Hospital Survival Guide: Checkin

    02/08/2013
    From: Consumer Reports
    In addition to taking care of financial and insurance questions, make sure you take these five steps at your hospital check-in.
    Main Article
  • Hospital Survival Guide: Checkout
  • Hospital Survival Guide: Checkout

    02/08/2013
    From: Consumer Reports
    More than a third of hospital patients fail to get needed follow-up care once they get home. And many people have to be readmitted within 30 days of their discharge. To prevent that from happening to you, take these six steps.
    Main Article
  • Hospital Survival Guide: Checkout Checklist
  • Hospital Survival Guide: Checkout Checklist

    02/08/2013
    From: Consumer Reports
    Reduce your chance of a drug error and the possibility of being re-admitted to the hospital by following these steps when you check out..
    Main Article
  • Hospital Survival Guide: During Your Stay
  • Hospital Survival Guide: During Your Stay

    02/08/2013
    From: Consumer Reports
    Hospital staff members aren’t out to hurt you, but mistakes do happen, especially when things are busy or chaotic. So be polite-but alert. These eight steps can help improve hospital-patient safety.
    Main Article
  • Know Your Rights
  • Know Your Rights

    07/30/2014
    From: The Joint Commission
    You have rights and a role regarding your treatment and care. This brochure has questions and answers to help you learn about your rights and role as a patient
    Main Article
  • Massachusetts: How Does Your Doctor Compare?
  • Massachusetts: How Does Your Doctor Compare?

    06/01/2012
    From: Consumer Reports
    A special report for Massachusetts residents. Patients rate 487 adult, family and pediatric practices.
    Main Article
  • Minnesota: How Does Your Doctor Compare?
  • Minnesota: How Does Your Doctor Compare?

    09/01/2012
    From: Consumer Reports
    This special report for Minnesota residents provides exclusive Ratings of 552 doctors' offices statewide.
    Main Article
  • Planning Your Follow-up Care
  • Planning Your Follow-up Care

    07/30/2014
    From: The Joint Commission
    Before leaving the hospital, you should be given written instructions about your follow-up care. This brochure provides questions to help you get the information you need for the best follow-up care. 
    Main Article
  • Prescription Assistance Programs
  • Prescription Assistance Programs

    12/01/2011
    From: Consumer Reports
    Do you need help paying for prescription drugs? You may qualify for a Prescription Assistance Program (PAP). Most drug companies offer PAPs. Some state governments offer PAPs. And there are some PAPs for people with certain diseases or conditions.
    Main Article
    Spanish Version
  • Preventing Blood Clots After Hip or Knee Replacement or Surgery for a Broken Hip
  • Preventing Blood Clots After Hip or Knee Replacement or Surgery for a Broken Hip

    03/13/2012
    From: AHRQ
    This summary covers what research says about the possible benefits and side effects of treatments to help prevent a blood clot after hip or knee surgery. Treatment options include medicines that thin your blood and devices that increase blood flow in your legs (leg or foot coverings that inflate and deflate or elastic stockings). This summary can help you discuss these options with your doctor.
    Main Article
    Spanish Version
  • Preventing Infection
  • Preventing Infection

    07/30/2014
    From: The Joint Commission
    Five Things You Can Do To Prevent Infection 
    Main Article
  • Preventive Care
  • Preventive Care

    05/10/2013
    From: Consumer Reports
    Immunizations, cancer screenings, lifestyle counseling, and other wellness measures can save lives. But your doctor may be falling short when it comes to making sure you're up-to-date on the services you need.

    In a study published in January 2012 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers analyzed nearly 500 visits to 64 family-practice and internal-medicine physicians in Michigan. On average, the patients, who were 50 to 80 years old, were due for five to six preventive services but typically received only three. 
    Main Article
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