How to Get the Best From Your Relationship With Your Doctor

Your guide to building a better partnership

A good doctor-patient relationship can be very much like a partnership. You and your doctor work together with your nurses, pharmacists physicians and other health care providers. The goal is to keep you healthy and to address your medical problems.

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Being a good partner means taking responsibility: Ask questions if you don’t understand, talk about problems even if the doctor doesn’t ask, and let the doctor know if you have concerns. Good communication between you and your doctor can help you to achieve the best possible health outcome.

Here is our guide to how you can create the most productive relationship with your doctor:

4 Traits You Want in a Doctor

You trust doctors with your health. When you think about the patient-doctor relationship in those terms, you realize just how important it is for the relationship to be a good match. When it is, your health benefits immeasurably. When it isn’ a good match, you may find yourself suffering from a lack of clarity regarding your care. Here are a few of the top traits you should look for in a doctor.
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Why You Should Come Out to Your Doctor

If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), does your doctor know? If you are like most members of the LGBT community, it’s likely you haven’t told your physician. Many LGBT patients fear being judged or discriminated against — and with good reason.  But there are compelling reasons why you should tell your healthcare provider if you are LGBT. First and foremost, the foundation of an effective doctor-patient relationship is honesty.
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10 Things You Should Expect From Your Doctor

You just waited two hours for a doctor who’s running late. Once in the office, the doctor zips through a jargon-filled speech, orders a test, writes a prescription and sends you on your way. You leave in a cloud of confusion, realizing that you never even asked a question. Don’t accept this: It’s the worst-case scenario of patient care. You have rights, including the right to participate in your care rather than being a passive patient. Start with these 10 expectations.
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4 Ways to Partner With Your Doctor

Most doctors go into healthcare with an overwhelming desire to help people. Providing care is a two-way street between a doctor and patient. Working together, they get the best results. Find out how we can truly impact the health of our nation from Toby Cosgrove, MD, CEO and President of Cleveland Clinic.
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You Can — and Should — Talk to Your Doctor About Domestic Abuse

It is routine for many doctors to ask female patients if they are feeling any pain. Sometimes this question serves a purpose beyond what you might expect — it can unveil domestic abuse. If you’re in an abusive situation, you might think you can’t talk to your doctor. Or perhaps you’re simply afraid to do so. But you can — and should — discuss abuse with your doctor, for your own health, safety and well-being. A doctor can safely steer you toward resources and help protect you from further abuse.
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5 Smart Questions You Need to Ask Your Doctor

As you leave your doctor’s office, you think, “Oh, I forgot to ask…” It happens to all of us. That’s why many doctors recommend writing your questions down before you visit your physician. But what should those questions be? You’ll have your own questions based on your personal health and conditions, but use these five information-eliciting queries as a starting point.
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5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Doctor’s Appointment

You thought you were prepared. You had several questions ready to ask your doctor during your well-check visit — but when the time came, you couldn’t think of a single one. Don’t fret, though — many patients have similar experiences when they go to the doctor’s office. There are several things you can do to make your visit more effective and to get the most out of your time with your doctor.
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Advice on Talking With Your Doctor

When patients are actively involved in their own health, there is a much stronger likelihood their health outcomes will be better. That is why it is so important to feel comfortable with your doctors and be prepared with questions when you meet with them. Here are two helpful resources for you.
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