Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Here are some important questions to ask if you’re interviewing a doctor or seeing a new doctor for the first time. If you already have an established relationship with a doctor, you may know the answers to most of these questions. If not, take some time during your next visit to learn the answers.

  • Are you Board Certified?
  • If you are Board Certified, by which Board? In which specialty?
  • Do you participate in the ABMS Maintenance of Certification® program? What does this involve?
  • Where did you attend medical school? How long have you been in practice?
  • Which hospitals do you use? Are they accredited?
  • What are your office hours?
  • Who covers for you when you are unavailable?
  • How long does it usually take to get a routine appointment?
  • How long is the typical office wait?
  • Will I have to pay if I cancel an appointment?
  • Does the office send reminders about prevention tests?
  • What do I do if I need urgent care or have an emergency?
  • Do you or someone in your office speak the language that I am most comfortable using?
  • Do you (or a nurse or physician assistant) give advice over the phone for common medical problems?
  • Do you use electronic medical records?
  • Do you perform routine X-rays and laboratory services in your office?
  • Do you survey your patients? How do you use the findings?

In addition to these general questions, you may wish to ask questions tailored to doctors in a particular specialty or subspecialty.  For example, if you are considering a surgical procedure, you may want to ask how frequently the doctor performs this procedure, what the potential risks are and what the recovery involves.

A helpful resource for additional questions is the Question Builder tool from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.