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Stephen O'Connor

By: Stephen O'Connor on July 2nd, 2014

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5 Questions Every Doctor Should Be Able to Answer

Healthcare Advice


When patients come to your practice, it’s only natural they may be apprehensive about their situation. Patients and their family members may only know that “something is wrong,” for example, or they could have a fairly good idea about what the problem is because they have gone through it before.

Whether they have an injury or present symptoms of an illness or have run into a complication with a chronic condition that your staff has been helping them with for quite some time, you can expect that patients will have pressing questions that need answering as soon as possible.

While physicians can’t be expected to be able to answer every obscure question without doing some research or checking with a specialist, there are certain aspects of medical care that they should be comfortable addressing upon demand. With that in mind, here are five questions that every doctor should be able to answer.

1. What is the Purpose of this Medication or Procedure?

Your patients have every right to know what kind of medicine you propose that they take, and what it is supposed to do for them. Likewise, each patient will want to know the benefits of a particular procedure and why you are suggesting it as an elective procedure or why you ordering it be done immediately because of a pressing need.

2. Potential Interactions New Medications May Have with Medicines You Currently Take

If you need to prescribe a new medication, it’s of paramount importance to take into consideration any and all drugs that the patient is currently taking. What’s more, you need to know about supplements and any other over-the-counter substances, as well as alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and illegal drugs the patient uses.

Some medicines interact negatively with foods and herbal teas, so your staff should always keep the details updated about each patient in your Electronic Health Records software. Medical professionals will be able to answer such questions more easily when they have access to their patient’s charts in digital format.

3. How Many Times has the Doctor Performed a Particular Procedure or Provided Treatment for this Condition?

This is a fairly straightforward question. The patient simply wants to get an idea of the physician’s level of expertise in the area. Being able to give your success rate will help ease patients’ anxiety before they agree to your course of action.

4. What Alternatives are there for Treatment?

Doctor should keep up on the latest developments in their field, in order to provide patients with the best possible care.

Patients may ask about using a gentler medication, for example, or what new technology is available to improve their condition.

5. How Long Do You Estimate it Will Take to Recover?

Patients may have concerns about supporting their family and will want to know when they can get back to work. At what point will they be able to resume their activities, and in what capacity?

From refraining from heavy lifting after an operation to the need to wear a cast for several weeks, patients just want to know when their lives will be back to normal.

Doctors typically develop an aura of authority because of their advanced training, healthy sense of self-confidence, and years of experience helping patients from all walks of life with a variety of conditions and illnesses. Being able to answer patients’ questions quickly, calmly, and with sufficient detail is an important part of a doctor’s job description.

Key Takeaway:

  • Doctors can do their jobs more effectively when they are able to explain procedures and treatment methods so that their patients have a good understanding of what’s involved.
  • A physician should always keep in mind his or her patients’ current prescription schedule when considering adding new medicines to the mix.
  • Doctors who are confident in their abilities will quickly answer how many times they have performed a procedure, as well as their success rate.
  • It’s a good idea for doctors to be aware of alternative methods of treatment in case their patients want to go another route.
  • Patients will be concerned about when they can resume their normal activities (if that will be possible) after recovering from an injury or illness.


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About Stephen O'Connor

As a Director of Digital Marketing at Advanced Data Systems Corporation, Stephen spends his day's planning, writing, & designing resources for the modern healthcare professional. He has a strong affinity for snow crab legs, the ocean, and Rutgers Football.