Patients usually visit a doctor to find an answer to two main questions:
1. What’s the cause of my symptoms? (Diagnosis)
2. What can be done about it? (Treatment)
There are a 5 simple questions you can ask your doctor about the diagnosis and 5 questions about the treatment, to be better informed, and get the outcome you prefer.
- How certain or uncertain are you about the diagnosis?
- Are further tests required?
- If so, how good are the tests? Will they rule out or pick up the problem?
- Are there risks attached to the test? Eg bleeding, radiation exposure.
- Is the test necessary or are there other options? Eg treat, wait.
- What treatments are available to manage the problem?
- How successful is the treatment?
- Are there risks attached to the treatment? Eg adverse reactions, interactions with other medications, antibiotic resistance, bleeding, infection.
- Is the treatment necessary or are there other options? Eg wait, try lifestyle changes first, do further tests, see another doctor.
- Is there anything else I need to know about the treatment? Eg how to administer, when to come back, how to prevent this from happening again.