Repeat after the doctor. If the doctor speaks above your head in medical jargon, don't just nod along with glazed eyes. This is your health—it's important to understand your diagnosis and treatment options, especially if you've waited a while to get an appointment and be seen. Torrey and Clancy advise repeating to the doctor what he or she has said so you're both on the same page. A patient can ask something like: "Can I try this in my own words so I make sure I understand?"
Learn how to reconnect after the appointment. Near the end of the appointment, Clancy suggests asking the doctor: "I know I'll have questions when I get home. What's the best way to reach you?" The doctor may have certain hours she takes calls, her nurse may take questions instead or she may be receptive to email. Knowing these communication preferences in advance will make it easier to follow up with important questions and possibly prevent a frustrating game of phone tag.