Why ask health questions?

Asking medical questions can improve your care…and health outcomes!

How many times have you been prescribed a medication by your healthcare provider, only to arrive home to realize that you’re unsure about possible side effects? Or the correct dose? Or the potential risk of taking the new medication together with other medicines you already use? Have you ever felt too embarrassed—or too rushed—to clarify medication information or instructions with your provider?

If you’ve experienced this, you’re not alone. Nearly half of Americans take a prescription medicine, and more than 20 percent of Americans take at least three. However, according to a recent NCPIE study, most people (60 percent) are not fully aware of the risks associated with the medicines they take. Communication with your team of healthcare professionals—physicians, nurses, pharmacists and/or medical assistants—about your medications is critical. Yet, too few patients speak up, or even know the right questions to ask.

Questions are the answer. Your health depends on good communication.

Quality healthcare is a team effort. You play an important role. One of the best ways to communicate with your doctor and healthcare team is by asking questions. Your doctor wants your questions. Doctors know a lot about a lot of things, but they don’t always know everything about you or what is best for you. Your questions give your doctor and healthcare team important information about you, such as your most important healthcare concerns. That is why they need you to speak up. Asking questions…can improve your care.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

You are a key player on your own medicine education team. Be proactive in asking medical questions and health questions. Seek clarity and get the information you want and need.

Here are 4 tips to guide your conversation with your healthcare provider

  1. Talk to your healthcare provider and ask questions about the benefits and potential risks of prescription medicines you take.
  2. Tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you are taking—including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and dietary supplements.
  3. Tell your healthcare provider about any allergies or sensitivities that you may have.
  4. Read and follow the information and directions on medicine labels, and ask questions if you need clarity about the information on the label

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