Dealing with the Healthcare System: Providers

Doctor-Patient Communication

How well you and your doctor communicate with each other is one of the most important parts of getting good health care. Being prepared can help make the most of your visit. Here are some things you can bring:

  • Lists of your concerns, any allergies and all the medicines, herbs, or vitamins you take

  • A description of symptoms - when they started, what makes them better 

  • A trusted friend or family member

  • A way to take notes during your appointment


Make sure you understand your diagnosis and any treatments. Ask your health care provider to write down his or her instructions to you. If you still have trouble understanding, ask where you can go for more information.

A Guide for Older People: Talking with Your Doctor

How well you and your doctor talk to each other is one of the most important parts of getting good health care. But, talking to your doctor isn’t always easy. It takes time and effort on your part as well as your doctor’s. 

This 40-page guidebook from the National Institute on Aging provides everything you need to know about finding and communicating with your physicians, including:

  • Choosing a doctor

  • Getting ready for an appointment

  • Giving and getting information

  • Making decisions with your doctor

  • Understanding your medications and tests

  • Discussing sensitive issues

  • Involving your family and friends

  • Helpful worksheets 


Preparing for Your Next Visit: As patients, our job is to be proactive with our health care and communicate with providers about issues that we may be experiencing. Information from the National Council on Aging.

How To Talk To Your Healthcare Provider: Tips On Improving Communication. Here’s what experts with the American Geriatrics Society Health in Aging Foundation suggest to help you get the most out of your visit with your provider.

Talking with Your Doctor: This resource from the National Institute on Aging provides access to 15 articles articles to help you prepare for a medical appointment, discuss sensitive topics, manage your medications, choose a new doctor, and coordinate help from family caregivers.