When you have a strong relationship with your doctor, then you improve the chances of receiving a better health outcome. Here are some of the easiest ways you can work on making those improvements.

1. Prepare for your appointment before you arrive.

Make sure you communicate with your doctor about every medication, supplement, and vitamin that you take. Write down the recent health problems you’ve been having. Then discuss any additional shots or treatments you may have received before ending the conversation.

2. Prioritize your time.

You might have several things you want to discuss with your doctor, but it is important to remember that your time is limited. Prioritize your health concerns so that they fit into a 30-minute window whenever possible. Then ask your doctor about how many things you can talk about on that appointment.

3. Discuss your chief concerns.

Many people focus on their primary complaints. Try to focus on your chief concern instead. You might be concerned about that pain you feel in your knee because you’re afraid of a potential surgery. Doctors are unable to respond to your concerns if they are not voiced. 

4. Take home the information you need.

Trying to ask questions at the doctor’s office can feel like you’re interrupting the process. When you leave that office, however, you are also now responsible for your personal care. Do not leave until you have your questions and concerns met. Doctors respond strongly when a similar issue or matter is brought up more than once.

5. Take notes during your visit.

Doctors get frustrated when patients receive instructions, then choose not to follow them. Taking notes during your visit can set your doctor’s mind at ease, which means you’ll have more room to maneuver during the appointment. If you feel like you won’t be able to take notes, it is your right to bring along someone who can do that for you – and even ask questions on your behalf.

6. Ask about how to reach your doctor during an emergency.

Every doctor has personal preferences for how you should reach them if you have an issue after regular business hours. Some offices have an after-hours phone number to call. There are doctors who don’t mind if you contact them on Facebook or Twitter. If you’re unsure of how to speak with your doctor should something come up, ask about it before you leave.

7. Talk about a visit you had with another doctor.

There are times when you must see a specialist for what is bothering you. You may have needed to visit the emergency room. Even though electronic health records transfer information between doctors and offices regularly, make sure that your doctor was kept in the loop. If they weren’t, they’d be grateful for the effort you made. When they were, the effort is still recognized as a positive action toward building a stronger relationship.

Doctors are people too. They’ll make mistakes. Medicine is an inexact science. When you make an effort to work closely with your doctor, however, you’ll find that the outcomes which are achievable will meet or exceed your expectations.