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Education and Training

Checking Your Understanding of Information the Doctor Gives You

It is a good idea to check your understanding of information the doctor gives you, such as directions for taking a medication, or the diagnosis of your medical condition. There are three ways you can do this:

  • Ask the doctor to repeat or clarify information that is unclear.
  • Repeat aloud what the doctor has just said.
  • Summarize your understanding of what the doctor has just said.

Sometimes patients are a little shy about checking their understanding, but doing so is very important. It shows the doctor that you are concerned about getting complete and correct information. Also, you are more likely to remember the information, especially if you summarize what the doctor has told you in your own words. Don't hesitate to ask the doctor to spell medical terms, draw a picture, or write down information for you. If you are shy about checking on information the doctor gives you, consider asking him or her for permission to tape record the visit, or ask someone to accompany you to the appointment.

Table of Contents

Presenting Detailed Information
Guidelines for Reporting New or Changed Symptoms
Tips About Medications
Medication Record Form
Stating What You Expect
Asking Questions
Sample Questions About Diagnosis and Prognosis
Sample Questions About Tests or Procedures
Sample Questions About Medications
Sample Questions About Other Treatments
A List of All Sample Questions
Checking Your Understanding of Information
Expressing Concerns
Tips About Making Appointments
Tips About Medical Records