8 Ways to Build a Great Relationship With Your Doctor… and Why It's So Important

Older couple talking with doctor

What are the most important relationships in your life? Family? Friends? Co-workers? Your doctor? The last may not always be top-of-mind, but when it comes to attaining your best level of health, and maintaining a lifestyle of wellness, no relationship is more central. Learn how to build a great partnership with your doctor by making the most of your time together.

Cultivating Communication

With open and frequent communication, whether in-person, by phone, or virtually, you and your doctor can work together to address concerns early on when they are most manageable; monitor important health indicators like blood pressure and blood sugars; make sure you are staying on top of recommended check-ups and screenings; and set individually tailored diet and exercise goals to optimize your health and wellness.

8 Tips to Build a Great Relationship with Your Doctor

The doctor-patient relationship is a two-way street. Here are some tips to help you navigate your side of the street and help make your visit as productive as possible:

  • Develop a list of the top 3 or 4 questions you’d like to have answered at your appointment. Remember: no question is a wrong question.
  • Write down the 3 or 4 most concerning symptoms you are experiencing.
  • When your doctor asks you questions, be honest with your answers, even if you feel embarrassed. Doctors ask the same questions to many patients and don’t think negatively about you for the answers you provide. In fact, truthful answers are essential in receiving the right treatment and advice.
  • Consider inviting a friend or family member to the conversation. Another person may help you remember answers to questions, or offer another perspective on an issue about which you are concerned.
  • Keep a folder to file visit summaries and notes.
  • Leverage technology. Sign up for a patient portal like MyLGHealth. Often times these tools provide a mechanism to email your doctor, and view test results and your medical history.
  • Ask for a printed copy of your results so you can review them in detail at home.
  • Don’t forget to talk your practice’s nurses who are valuable sources of information.

When the barriers between you and your doctor are removed, you can feel confident you’ve taken the needed steps to assure the healthiest future possible—one based on your personal goals and aspirations.

author name

Christopher L. Hager, MD

Christopher Hager, MD, is a family medicine physician with Novara, a concierge primary care practice. Dr. Hager is a graduate of Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine and the Lancaster General Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program. His areas of special expertise include prevention/wellness, sports medicine, and management of chronic diseases (diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol).

Call: 717-544-5000

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.


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