These simple queries could spare you anxiety, uncertainty and extra cash.

By Markham Heid
August 30, 2016

This article originally appeared on

Despite their best intentions, doctors are like the rest of us. They misconstrue, miscommunicate, and sometimes just plain mess up.

“It happens all the time where physicians and patients see different things in a different order of importance,” says Dr. Adrienne Boissy, chief of patient experience at Cleveland Clinic. While you may care most about preserving your tennis game or your ability to enjoy wine, your doctor may be focused on improving your pain scores or lowering your risk for certain complications.

“Doctors have the best intent, but that doesn’t ensure they’ll always recognize a patient’s greatest need,” Boissy says.

That’s why it’s important to take an active role when talking with your physician, says Dr. Ted Epperly, a clinical professor of family medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “Asking questions is one of the best ways to ensure you and your doctor are on the same page,” he says. “And if your doctor doesn’t seem interested in answering, or you get a negative response, you need to find a new doctor.”

Here’s what experts think you should be asking your doctor:

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