Be Your Own Health Advocate: Ask Questions

by Kelli

Ask questions to take charge of your healthcare

Asking questions is a critical and continual process for being your own health advocate. It’s especially important to ask questions of your health care provider. The following are some tips for asking questions:

1. I make a short list of the questions I need answered and take two copies of it to the doctor’s office with me. One I give to the medical assistant who checks me in (who gives it to the doctor with my chart), and one I hold on to so I keep focused in the appointment and make sure I get all my questions answered to my satisfaction. Having this “map” has been helpful for me and has been appreciated by my doctors. It seems they are less intimidated by my asking questions if they know beforehand what they will be and how many there are.
2. Get copies of any lab and diagnostic results and images. I’ve had experiences in the past where a nurse has called me to tell me my blood results were “great,” only to find out much later I had inflammatory markers registering many times well above the normal range. Looking over the results yourself can help you spot things the doctor may miss and prompt specific questions for the doctor.
3. One question I always ask is what diagnosis I’m being given for that office visit (specifically what diagnosis the doctor has indicated for my medical records and billing purposes). That may sound like common sense, but I can’t tell you how many times in the past I’ve left the doctor’s office and had no idea what my “diagnosis” was, or even that I technically had to have one for insurance billing purposes.
4. It’s worth repeating one more time: ask questions.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Asking questions can be especially difficult when you don’t feel well, but your body and mind will thank you.

About the author...

, diagnosed with an auto-immune disease as a child, has always paid close attention to her health. But when that disease went beyond the care of traditional care medicine, she found answers, and healing, through lifestyle improvements and working with a functional medicine doctor.

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