Wise Health Care Choices  »  Medical Decisions


  1. What is my diagnosis?

  2. Is my condition chronic or acute?

  3. Is there anything I can do to cure, treat, and/or prevent it from getting worse?

  4. Is my condition contagious or genetic?

  5. How certain are you about this diagnosis?


  1. What is the recommended treatment?

  2. Is there a support group for my condition?

If you are discussing medications:

  1. What will the medicine do for my particular problem?

  2. When, how often, and for how long should

I take the medicine?

  1. How long before the medicine starts working?

  2. Will there be side effects?

  3. Will there be interactions with other medications I am taking?

If you are discussing a test:

  1. What is the test called and how will it help identify the problem? Will it give specific or general information?

  2. Will more tests be necessary?

  3. How accurate and reliable is the test?

  4. How should I prepare for the test?

  5. Where do I go for the test?

  6. How and when will I get the test’s results?

If you are discussing surgery:

  1. What are my options for surgery? Which one do you advise?

  2. How many of these surgeries have you done and what were the results?

  3. Can I get a step-by-step account of the procedure, including anesthesia and recovery?

Benefits vs. Risks

  1. What are the benefits if I go ahead with the treatment?

  2. What are the possible risks and complications?

  3. Do the benefits outweigh the risks?


  1. What is the success rate for the treatment?

  2. Are there any personal factors that will affect my odds either way?

  3. How long will the results of treatment last?


  1. When is the best time to begin the treatment?

  2. When can I expect to see results?


  1. What will happen if I decide to do nothing?

  2. What are my other options?


  1. What is the cost for the treatment?

  2. What related costs should I consider (e.g., time off work, travel, etc.).


  1. You can now make an informed decision.

  2. You have the right to choose or refuse treatment.


We should ask our doctors questions like we are buying electronics. Here are the 10 questions: http://www.ahrq.gov/questionsaretheanswer/