top of page
  • Scripps Health

8 Ways to Build a Strong Relationship with Your Doctor

Prepare questions, follow COVID protocols, use patient portal and more

You’ve waited several weeks to see your doctor, but after you leave the office you still have questions, and you don’t quite understand your diagnosis. If this sounds familiar, it’s time to improve your relationship with your physician.

A good patient-physician relationship can go a long way in helping you stay healthy — and getting the care you need when you’re not feeling well.

“Patients who take an active role in their care may not only feel more satisfied with their doctors, but also more in control over their own health and well-being,” says Rebecca Shragge, DO, an internal medicine physician at Scripps Coastal Medical Center Hillcrest.

Communication, respect and trust are keys to any healthy relationship. And the relationship with your health care provider should be no different. Here are eight ways to help you build a good patient-physician relationship and get the most out of your appointments.

1. Be prepared for your appointment

Take a few minutes to prepare for your appointment with your physician so you can make the most of your time together. You may be able to message your concerns ahead of your appointment through a patient portal.

Common questions to consider include:

  • Do you have a new symptom you want to discuss?

  • Do you want to go over how a treatment is affecting your daily life?

  • What side effects are common with a particular medication you are prescribed?

  • Do you need vaccines, including the flu, pneumonia or shingles?

“Before your visit, make a list of your symptoms and how long each has been present,” suggests Dr. Shragge. “Write down what medications you’re taking, including vitamins and supplements, and the dosages for each.”

If you need lab work or other tests, get them before your appointment so you and your doctor can go over them together.

2. Prioritize health issues to discuss