Tips & Tools

Get more involved with your health care by asking questions, talking to your clinician, and understanding your condition.

Research shows that patients who have a good relationship with their clinicians receive better care and are happier with their care. Communication is at the heart of the doctor-patient relationship.

The resources below will help you to prepare for your medical appointments, ask questions, and talk with your doctor and other members of your health care team.

Build your own list of questions, or use our online tools to get the most out of your health care appointment.

Our Resources

Be More Involved in Your Health Care

Be More Involved in Your Health Care: Tips for Patients

Patients get better care when they talk with their doctor. This short, easy-to-read brochure gives tips that will help you be prepared before, during, and after medical appointments. Be More Involved in Your Health Care.

For free printed copies, call 1-800-358-9295, email, or order online.

My Questions for This Visit

Notepads to help patients prioritize their questions for medical visits are available. My Questions for This Visit.

For free printed copies, call 1-800-358-9295 or email

For details about co-branding and partnership opportunities, please call AHRQ’s Communications Office at 301-427-1248.

mage of 20 Tips pdf

20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors

Medical errors can occur anywhere in the health care system and can involve medicines, surgery, diagnosis, equipment, or lab reports. These 20 tips tell what you can do to get safer care.

For free printed copies, call 1-800-358-9295 or email

Cover of Your Medicine: Be Smart. Be Safe.

Your Medicine: Be Smart. Be Safe.

Learn how to take your medicines safely by reading this guide. It answers common questions and has handy forms that will help you keep track of information. Select to download the print version

For free printed copies, call 1-800-358-9295 or email

Patients in doctor's waiting room

Waiting Room Video

This 7-minute video features patients and clinicians discussing the importance of asking questions and sharing information. To order a free copy of this video on DVD, call 1-800-358-9295 or email

Poster for clinicians showing a woman sitting on an examination table in a medical office. Her face is showing, but her body is composed of different medical test results, including x-rays, a heart rate printout, and an ultrasound image. The message the image conveys is that while doctors can learn a lot about a patient's health from test results, they can also learn a lot by asking the patient questions.

Check Out Our Print Ads

New ads for clinicians encourage two-way communication during medical visits.

image of a page from the glossary


Our plain-English glossary helps you make sense of the terms doctors often use.

Current as of August 2011
Internet Citation: Tips & Tools. August 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.