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What should I ask my health care provider?

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Antibiotic Resistance

Effects of Antibiotic Resistance

Contributing to the Solution

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Approaching Your Provider

A female doctor speaking with a female patient.

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It is important to develop open lines of communication with your health care provider, because it allows them to help you in the most appropriate manner and it also allows you to be an active participant in your care. Below are some tips for talking with your health care provider.

Before You Go:

Research your concerns. Print sources and accurate internet sites, from sources such as universities and the government, can provide a wealth of information. You don't have to become an expert, but this may help you in planning which questions to ask. If you would like more information on antibiotic resistance you can use the "More Information" link on the left as a way to view some good examples of trustworthy web sites.

Write down your questions. Having some questions in mind is important, but writing them down will help you to make sure that you leave your provider's office

When You're There:

If you or a family member is more comfortable speaking in a language other than english, request an interpreter for that language. Although other staff might be used for this purpose, you have a right as a patient to have your concerns made clear to the provider and to get instructions that you can understand. For this reason, a certified interpreter is an important component of your visit.

Be sure to be completely honest with your provider about any questions they ask you, but also don't feel limited to those questions. If you are concerned about something that the provider doesn't ask about, bring it up. It is always in your best interest to voice all of your concerns, even if the provider seems hurried.

Now's the time to pull out that list that you made at home. Be sure to ask your questions and either write the answers down, or bring a family member with you who can remind you of what was said later. If you feel that you would be more comfortable with written instructions, ask for them.

You might also want to ask the provider what they feel are good sources of health information. They may have pamphlets in their office or know of some great web sites. Part of their job is to keep up with medical knowledge and that is just one more resource to help you find accurate information.

By making your concerns clear to your provider and bringing clear questions, you're on your way to developing a relationship with them that opens the lines of communications. If, however, you do not feel that your provider is responsive to your concerns or that they in any way behave in an inappropriate manner, seek out another health care provider with whom you fell more comfortable.

Between Visits:

If you develop an allergic reaction to medication that you are given or feel that you cannot follow through with the treatment plan that you and your provider decided on, return to the provider's office or call them. You need to make sure that you are being treated for your illness, and you have every right to ask for their help in developing an alternative plan.

Be sure to return for any follow up visits and to keep seeing your provider for regular check ups and any time you are concerned about your health or the health of a family member.


For more tips on talking with your health care provider, click on the "More Information" link to the left.

Accessibility | Privacy | ASU Disclaimer This site was created by Sarah Lusk ( in fulfillment of requirements for the course CSS 335: Latino Health Issues taught by Dr. Szkupinski Quiroga at Arizona State University, Spring 2006.