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Last Modified: March 1, 2023

How to Communicate with Your Doctor Effectively

Published on February 29, 2016 • Last updated March 1, 2023 by Ken Christensen
Topics: Current Events, Other Insurance (Health, Life, Home)

Proper medical care and accurate health records are essential to winning an injury case, and effective communication with your doctor is essential to receiving proper medical care and maintaining accurate health records. So how do you effectively communicate with your doctor?

Modern technology is making doctor-patient communication much easier. Automated text and email services can help keep you constantly up-to-date on your care. But that doesn’t mean you no longer have to put in any effort. You and your doctor need to talk to each other regularly, in-person. One doctor and university professor said this about automated doctor-patient communication:

“I don’t think it substitutes for face-to-face communication… but it does help us collectively to not overlook something that might be important” — Thomas Vail, M.D. and Chair of Orthopedic Surgery at UC-San Fransisco

Modern Ways to Communicate with Your Doctor

At some point, you will probably need to talk to your doctor when you don’t have an appointment. Calling can be helpful in certain situations, but don’t ignore email as a way of communicating with your doctor.

Phone calls

  • It’s easy and you may get an immediate response, depending on the question. For that reason alone, calling your doctor is a great option.
  • You can speak openly with your doctor about your care, and to office staff about payments and insurance.
  • Speak clearly and be prepared with topics and questions you need answers to.


  • Email is a great way to communicate with your doctor for many reasons.
  • You can send it at a convenient time for you, and they can answer at a convenient time for them.
  • If it is a sensitive or complicated issue, your doctor will have time to research and prepare a thorough response.
  • Your conversations are recorded for future reference.
  • The efficiency of email communication can save lives. Immediate responses to medical emergencies are more likely when a patient can email their doctor at any time.


How to Communicate with Your Doctor Effectively In-Person

As mentioned by Dr. Vail, modern technology is still no substitute for regular face-to-face interaction between doctors and patients. Knowing how to communicate with your doctor in-person is crucial to proper care.

Speak Up and Be Assertive

  • If you don’t say exactly what you need, your doctor may not be able to help you.
  • Don’t assume they automatically know what’s going on.
  • If you’ve done your own research, tell your doctor what you know and what you’re thinking.

Make Sure They Hear You

  • Doctors are very busy and meet with a lot of patients. Their stories and conditions can be hard to keep track of.
  • Make sure your doctor hears your questions.

Explain Everything

  • Help your doctor help you. Be honest about the way you’re feeling and give detailed descriptions of your health situation.
  • Don’t hide symptoms or side effects, even if hey’re not connected specifically to what your doctor’s looking for.

Write Things Down

  • Be prepared with questions and details of your condition.
  • Take notes on what your doctor tells you.

Don’t  Leave if You Don’t Get What You Need

  • If your doctor explains something that doesn’t make sense, gives you instructions you won’t be able to remember, or aren’t answering questions at all, speak up and make sure you understand.
  • Ask more questions and ask for clarification, even if it’s awkward. One more question can save a lot of time.

At Christensen & Hymas, we are dedicated to providing our injured clients with compassionate, honest representation. We can help you communicate with your doctor and win your injury case. Contact us today if you have any questions about building a personal injury case.


Photo copyright to NIHClinicalCenter

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