Calling Your Doctor Checklist

Sometimes you need to call your doctor. Get the answers to these questions before that time comes:

  • What are your doctor’s office hours? Does he or she work out of more than one office?
  • What is the best time to call?
  • What is the doctor’s rule for returning calls?
  • Whom should you talk to if the doctor can’t come to the phone?
  • What is the phone number for emergency calls or calls when the office is closed?
  • Whom can you call if your doctor is out of town?
  • When you reach your doctor by phone:
  • Get to the point of your call quickly, especially if you’ve phoned the doctor after hours. (Have someone else call the doctor for you if you can’t do it yourself.)
  • Tell your symptoms and problems. Write them down and keep them by the telephone so you don’t have to remember them.
  • Report results of home tests and things you have been keeping track of. Here are some examples: temperature of 101°F for 2 days, burning sensation when urinating, etc.
  • Ask the doctor what to do. Write it down.
  • Have your pharmacist’s phone number handy in case the doctor needs to prescribe medicine.
  • Ask the doctor if you should call him or her back or if you should come to the office.
  • Ask the doctor if you should go to the emergency room. He or she may tell you to go only if you get other symptoms. Write down the symptoms to watch for.
  • Thank the doctor for talking to you on the telephone.

Avatar Written by American Institute for Preventive Medicine

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