5 ways to partner with your doctor

Tips for getting the best care.

Partnering with your primary care physician, or PCP, can help you and your doctor choose treatment options that best fit your values, beliefs and lifestyle. It will also help you feel more empowered about your health and confident about any chosen treatment plans.

Here are our best tips on how to partner with your doctor:


Make sure your doctor has access to your medical records.

This includes surgeries and hospitalizations. If you don't have these records, write down when and where you received treatment so your doctor can request them. This allows your doctor to become familiar with your medical history and provide better care right away.


Fill out forms as completely as you can.

If you are asked to fill out a form, do your best to complete it with up-to-date information. A great way to be prepared is to keep track of your current medications, family health history and allergies.

  • Medications, vitamins and supplements: Bring them in their original containers so your doctor knows exactly what you’re taking.
  • Family health history: Take time to ask your family members their medical histories and age of diagnosis. For example, a family member diagnosed with colon cancer before the age of 60 will influence when your doctor recommends you begin having tests.
  • Allergies: Keep a list of what you are allergic to and any medications to which you have reacted poorly in the past.

Write down your questions before an appointment.

Focus on asking about your immediate needs or current treatment. If you still have more questions at the end of your appointment, make a note to save them for your next doctor’s visit.


Keep up with follow-up tests and scheduled appointments.

Missing follow-up tests, such as blood draws or other lab tests, and appointments can make it challenging for your doctor to manage your care. Contact your doctor’s office if you are having trouble getting to appointments. Depending on what kind of appointment you have scheduled, a video or phone visit may be appropriate.


Prepare your child for tests and exams.

Let your child know why they are seeing a provider and what will be done during the visit. Teens may be more willing to talk about topics such as sexuality, mental health, drugs or alcohol if they speak privately with their doctor.

Partnering with your primary care physician is essential to getting the best care. If you ever find that you want to change your PCP, you can. Remember, your doctor is there to listen to you, care about you and be comfortable treating you as a partner in decision making.

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