5 ways to partner with your doctor

Tips for getting the best care.


Partnering with your primary care physician, or PCP, can help you and your doctor choose treatment options that best fit your values, beliefs and lifestyle. It will also help you feel more empowered about your health and confident about any chosen treatment plans.

Here are our best tips on how to partner with your doctor:


Make sure your doctor has access to your medical records.

This includes surgeries and hospitalizations. If you don't have these records, write down when and where you received treatment so your doctor can request them. This allows your doctor to become familiar with your medical history and provide better care right away.


Fill out forms as completely as you can.

If you are asked to fill out a form, do your best to complete it with up-to-date information. A great way to be prepared is to keep track of your current medications, family health history and allergies.

  • Medications, vitamins and supplements: Bring them in their original containers so your doctor knows exactly what you’re taking.
  • Family health history: Take time to ask your family members their medical histories and age of diagnosis. For example, a family member diagnosed with colon cancer before the age of 60 will influence when your doctor recommends you begin having tests.
  • Allergies: Keep a list of what you are allergic to and any medications to which you have reacted poorly in the past.

Write down your questions before an appointment.

Focus on asking about your immediate needs or current treatment. If you still have more questions at the end of your appointment, make a note to save them for your next doctor’s visit.


Keep up with follow-up tests and scheduled appointments.

Missing follow-up tests, such as blood draws or other lab tests, and appointments can make it challenging for your doctor to manage your care. Contact your doctor’s office if you are having trouble getting to appointments. Depending on what kind of appointment you have scheduled, a video or phone visit may be appropriate.


If you’re a caregiver and you go with the person you care for to doctor’s visits, work with their doctor as an ally.

Interacting with doctors and other health care providers can be an important part of being a caregiver. Here is helpful guidance on how to be an advocate for the person in your care.

  • Before appointments, ask the person and other caregivers if they have questions they would like you to bring up.
  • Always include both the person you care for and the doctor when you talk. For example, when the doctor asks a question, let the person answer unless you have been asked to do so.
  • Take notes of the doctor’s recommendations. Notes can be helpful later, either to give information to another caregiver or family member, or to remind the patient what the doctor said.
  • Respect the person’s privacy and leave the room when necessary.

Partnering with your primary care physician is essential to getting the best care. If you ever find that you want to change your PCP, know that you can. Remember, your doctor is there to listen to you, care about you and be comfortable treating you as a partner in decision making.


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Sharp Direct Advantage is offered by Sharp Health Plan. Sharp Health Plan is an HMO with a Medicare contract. Enrollment with Sharp Health Plan depends on contract renewal. Read the full disclaimer.

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Page Last Updated: 5/09/2022
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