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The most important interaction between a patient and their healthcare provider is the medical history.

Through listening to the story of the patient’s illness and asking relevant questions, a physician may often make a diagnosis, or at least begin to understand the nature and location of the complaint. Then, he or she is in a position to plan the examinations and tests necessary to identify the disease and begin treatment.

By facilitating the interview, patients can make this process more efficient leading to prompt, more precise diagnosis and treatment. Here we have some tips.



Be sure to be on time for your appointment. Being late not only compromises your own time with the doctor, but may also interfere with that of others. While doctors are notoriously behind in their schedules, part of that is due to some patients' inefficient use of time. Lack of time can interfere with your healthcare.

Chief Concern

It helps if you are able to state concisely your chief symptom, concern, or problem. This focuses the discussion. Sometimes there is more than one symptom, or a combination of symptoms.

For instance, a person with a functional gastrointestinal or motility disorder might have a constellation of related symptoms. In this situation, it is important to clearly identify which symptom(s) are of most concern to you. Since most healthcare providers only allot a few minutes to each visit, this enables them to focus on your major concerns and choose treatments that will provide the most relief.

On the other hand, specialists have a little more time and would want to deal with all the problems within his or her expertise. Presentation of a long written list of concerns is unlikely to be helpful.

Describe those that most trouble you now. Whereas a family practitioner or internist can deal, at least initially, with all medical problems, specialists must remain within their area of expertise. Usually, your primary care doctor best handles referrals.

Working with Your Doctor

patient doctor

Successful relationships with healthcare providers are an important part of managing life with a long-term digestive disorder.

Doctor–Patient Communication

How to Help Your Doctor Help You

How to Talk to Your Doctor