Patient Toolkit

The Patient's Toolkit for Diagnosis is created for people who are not feeling well or are visiting their doctor or nurse with a health concern. As patients, we have found that taking an active role in our care can help our doctors and nurses figure out a good “working” diagnosis. Not all diagnoses are correct, which is why we say “working” diagnosis. A diagnosis may be certain or uncertain, and making a diagnosis could be easy or difficult.


The Toolkit has a set of prompts and questions to help you and your family members participate and partner with your medical care team – doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals and support staff. Fill out the first three pages of this Toolkit before you go to a medical appointment. Finish filling it out during the appointment, or soon afterwards. You can bring the Toolkit with you to your appointment and refer to it. You can also copy it after filling it out, and give it to your doctor or nurse.


The Toolkit has four parts:

  1. Prepare for My Appointment
  2. My Symptoms or Pain
  3. My Medications
  4. After My Doctor’s Visit: What’s Next?

Preparing ahead of time for your medical appointment allows you to think about your concerns, symptoms, and other important information your doctor/nurse will need from you, and what you want to get out of your conversation with your doctor/nurse.


The Toolkit also includes some suggested questions that have helped other patients. For example, after receiving a diagnosis, it is helpful to ask, “What else can it be?” This question recognizes that diagnosis is a process, which includes a list of possibilities as well as the most likely choice, the “working” diagnosis.




Download the Patient Toolkit, a resource for patients, created by patients, to help them tell their story clearly.  You can fill in the forms and print them directly. 

If you want to print the toolkit and fill in on your own, click here to download a PDF of the Toolkit.

We welcome feedback on this resource. Please help the SIDM Patient’s Toolkit team improve this resource by sending your comments to

Society to Improve
Diagnosis in Medicine
1501 Hinman Ave, #7B
Evanston, Il 60201