How to Talk to Your Health Care Provider

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It’s important to learn to talk to your health care providers with confidence—something many adults have never learned how to do! The following advice will help you establish a professional and cooperative relationship with your health care providers.

  • Be honest and open, especially concerning your history. If you withhold information for any reason, the physician may lack a significant clue to diagnosing and treating your complaint.
  • If you have questions regarding your health, write them down ahead of time. No question is foolish or insignificant. This is the time to discuss your concerns.
  • Do not respond with a simple "yes" or "no" to questions about the conditions of parts of your body. More information is needed. Give specific examples of problems you have been experiencing. For example: "Do you have headaches?" "Yes, once a day, usually in the evening."
  • Laboratory testing is an important part of a physical examination. The physician cannot tell by looking at you whether you have infected urine, low hemoglobin, or high blood sugar. Some lab tests can be completed at the Health Center; other lab tests must be sent to an off-campus facility. We recommend that you call the Health Center within one week after a test was sent for analysis to obtain results.
  • You, as a patient, have a right to know what is being done and why. If in doubt, ask. You also have the right to refuse any tests if you do not receive a satisfactory explanation for why they should be ordered.
  • To reduce your wait time, please call ahead for an appointment.