Talking with Your Doctor

Frequently Asked Questions

22. How might an appointment with a specialist be different from a visit with my regular doctor?

A visit with a specialist may be shorter than an appointment with your doctor. Often specialists already know your symptoms and medical test results. A visit with a specialist may be more specific to a single health problem versus your general health issues.

If you do not understand something that the specialist tells you, ask questions. For example, you might say, "I do not know very much about the condition you said I have. Could you explain what it is and how it might affect me?" Also, have the specialist explain your treatment options.

It may be helpful to ask for written materials to read. You can call your primary doctor for an explanation of anything you did not understand or that does not make sense to you after your visit with the specialist.

Ask the specialist to send information about your diagnosis or treatment to your primary doctor. This will help your primary doctor keep track of your medical care. Also, during your next doctor visit, you should tell your doctor how well the treatment or medications prescribed by the specialist are working.