Questions to Ask on Your First Visit With a Doctor

You’ve asked around (family, friends, other doctors), done your online research of various doctors’ backgrounds and their patients’ opinions of them (on Vitals, of course!), and you’ve narrowed down the field to the physician you believe will best meet your needs. You’ve even cleared that often-difficult hurdle of obtaining an appointment. So, you’re job is done, right?

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Your doctor shouldn’t be the one doing all the talking. Be prepared with this list of questions for the doctor on your first appointment.

Not exactly. Because now you’ve got to establish a rapport with your physician and learn what the dynamic of your relationship will be – what’s expected of you, as well as whether he/she will meet all of your expectations.

In order to help guide the conversation during that initial visit, here are the questions you should ask your doctor:

  • What is the doctor’s philosophy regarding medication vs. lifestyle changes? How long will the doctor try a lifestyle intervention before choosing to prescribe medication?
  • How long will the doctor keep you on a medication before switching to another if you have side effects or it isn’t working?
  • How does the doctor keep up with the latest research findings?
  • What is the doctor’s philosophy about natural remedies?
  • Does the doctor have a relationship with a pharmacist in town? How does he/she work with that pharmacist?
  • How often do you have to follow-up with the doctor?
  • How do you maintain prescription refills? Can you simply call for authorization, or do you have to come in for a visit?
  • Who do you speak with about scheduling appointments and how much time do you need to give before making an appointment? Are same-day appointments available if you need to be seen right away?
  • Does the doctor want you to follow up with him/her after any hospital procedures or emergency room visits? Will he/she be available for treatment should you be admitted to the hospital or emergency room?
  • Under what circumstances should you have the emergency room or hospital contact your doctor directly?

For more information on how to proactively ensure the quality of the healthcare you receive, download the free Vitals ebook, Finding Dr. Right.