For some people, visiting a doctor or undergoing a medical procedure can cause anxiety and uncertainty. It helps to make sure you’re prepared. Below is a list of helpful patient tips to you can use to maximize your visit to your doctor.

Be Honest

You may feel embarrassed when talking about certain topics with your doctor – like sexual activity or drug and alcohol use – but it’s important to be honest. Your doctor can provide the best treatment only if he or she knows everything about your health. And remember, what you discuss with your doctor is confidential.

Ask Questions

Medical terms can be complicated and confusing. Ask your doctor questions about your treatment plan if you don’t understand what he or she is talking about.

Bring Your Medical History

When preparing for your appointment, be sure to have a copy of your medical history to bring with you. This history should include past surgeries and illnesses, allergies, current medications and your vaccination record.

Speak Up

If you feel uncertain or uncomfortable with what’s going on around you, speak up and talk to your doctor or nurse. It’s better to question why they are doing something than to have a problem later.

Additional Resources

Making smart, effective choices when it comes to your healthcare is easier than ever with the help of the Choosing Wisely® program.

Created by more than 50 medical specialty groups, Choosing Wisely provides resources to help you talk to your doctor about what tests, procedures and treatments are best for you.

Based on their specialties, providers created Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question for each condition, which include tests or procedures providers say are done too often, are not really needed or are sometimes even risky. Examples include prescribing antibiotics for sinusitis or ordering EKGs for patients without symptoms of heart disease.

In addition, Consumer Reports offers more than 40 free fliers you can download to help talk with your doctor about what care you really need – ensuring you get the right amount of care (not too much and not too little). Topics include low back pain, allergies, migraines and more.

And remember, it’s important that you find a doctor you’re comfortable. Learn more about choosing a primary care physician.