Step 5: Decide on a Treatment Plan

Next Steps After Your Diagnosis

My doctor told me I had done one of the hardest but most important things a patient has to do: Face up to the diagnosis and make decisions. It feels good to be where I am now.

—Bob, person with a neurological disorder

At this point, you have learned about your disease or condition and how it can be treated or managed. Your information may have come from the following sources:

  • Your doctor.
  • Second opinions from one or more other doctors.
  • Other people who are or were in the same situation as you.
  • Information sources such as Web sites, health or medical libraries, and nonprofit groups.

Work With Your Doctor To Make Decisions

When you are ready to make treatment decisions, you and your doctor can discuss:

  • Which treatments have been found to work well, or not work well, for your particular condition.
  • The pros and cons of each treatment option.

Make sure that your doctor knows your preferences and feelings about the different treatments—for example, whether you prefer medicine over surgery.

Once you and your doctor decide on one or more treatments that are right for you, you can work together to develop a treatment plan. This plan will include everything that will be done to treat or manage your disease or condition—including what you need to do to make the plan work. Remember, being an active member of your health care team helps to reduce your chances of medical mistakes, and it helps you get high-quality care.

Take Another Deep Breath

You have taken important steps to cope with your diagnosis, make decisions, and get on with your life. Remember two things:

  • Call on others for support as you need it.
  • Make use of evidence-based information for any future health decisions.
Current as of October 2012
Internet Citation: Step 5: Decide on a Treatment Plan: Next Steps After Your Diagnosis. October 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/patients-consumers/diagnosis-treatment/diagnosis/diaginfo/diaginf6.html