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 health care team receive better care and are happier with their care.  Patients and families who engage with health care providers ask good questions and help reduce the risk of errors and hospital admissions.

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.
For free printed copies, call 1-800-358-9295, Email, or order online.
My Questions for This Visit My Questions for This Visit
Notepads to help patients prioritize their questions for medical visits are available. 
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.
Guide to Patient and Family Engagement in Hospital Quality and Safety Guide to Patient and Family Engagement in Hospital Quality and Safety
Learn more about patient and family engagement and how hospitals can work as partners with patients and families to improve quality and safety.
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
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
Ads for clinicians encourage two-way communication during medical visits.

image of a page from the glossary Glossary
Our plain-English glossary helps you make sense of the terms doctors often use.
Page last reviewed May 2017
Page originally created August 2011
Internet Citation: Tips & Tools. Content last reviewed May 2017. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.