3 Ways to Improve Communication with Your Healthcare Team


Hearing you have a complex health condition is overwhelming and can leave your head spinning. You may have a million questions or you may not want to talk about it at all. Add medical jargon, various treatment options and healthcare costs on top of that and it can feel like a weight on your shoulders.

Not understanding a new diagnosis can result in hospital readmission, complications and additional costs. To ensure you understand your treatment, you need to be your own best advocate and have clear communication with your healthcare team. This means leaving no questions unanswered—including questions about medical terms, healthcare costs, treatment options and medication side effects.

Ways to strengthen communication with your healthcare team include:


Take notes after each appointment and write down any thoughts or questions you have. If you’re uncomfortable taking notes during your visit, sit down in the lobby, a nearby coffee shop or even your car before you head home to write down key points from your visit. Call your doctor’s office as soon as possible for clarity if you find you have unanswered questions.

You can also write down how you feel each day, any changes in your body, when you’re taking your meds and any side effects. By bringing these notes to your appointments, you won’t forget to ask any questions. You can also share notes about how you’ve been feeling with your doctor. These notes can help your healthcare team plan your treatment.

Don’t Go to Appointments Alone

Bring a loved one, caregiver or friend to appointments to ask additional questions. Having someone who is a good listener and who will support you during appointments can provide comfort and confidence.

When in Doubt, Ask

Don’t be afraid to ask members of your healthcare team questions. To be your own best advocate, you need to speak up. If you’re confused about something your doctor tells you, try repeating it back to him or her as you understand it. This can help your provider clear up any confusion. If you hear your doctor, nurse or pharmacist use a medical term that you’re unsure about, don’t be afraid to ask what it means. You can also write down the word in your health journal to look up later.

Here are a few sample questions you can ask your healthcare team. You can print these questions and bring them with you to appointments or write them down in your health journal.

  • What is my specific diagnosis?
  • What is the recommended treatment and what are my options?
  • How long does treatment usually last?
  • Do I need to change my daily routine?
  • What are the side effects of treatment?
  • Should I avoid any foods or have a certain diet during treatment?
  • What if my symptoms feel worse during treatment?
  • If something comes up, who should I call?
  • How much will my treatment cost?
  • Who can I talk to about insurance questions and financial assistance?

Practicing these tips will help you learn more about your health and improve communication with your healthcare team.

Do you have a question for Amber Specialty Pharmacy? Don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our team is always here to answer questions and hear concerns.

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