Health care

Is it safe to see the pediatrician for vaccines and medical visits?

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Concerned about pediatric visits right now? Is it okay to wait on a child’s vaccinations or better to stick to the schedule? What about appointments for other routine matters? What is serious enough to justify the risk?

Can telehealth help flatten the curve of COVID-19?

Virtual health care is a convenience in ordinary times, but a valuable tool during a crisis like the one we are experiencing. Also called telehealth, telemedicine, or digital care, it allows medical staff to evaluate patients to determine possible treatment needs and whether they can remain at home.

Coming clean: Your anesthesiologist needs to know about marijuana use before surgery

Regular marijuana users who need surgery should disclose their use ahead of the procedure, because of its effects on the body and on the anesthesia medications required for sedation.

Getting sleep in the hospital

There are many things about hospital routines that make it difficult for patients to sleep well. If you find yourself hospitalized, there are things you can do to improve the chances that you will get a better night’s sleep.

Drills, needles, and pain, oh my! Coping with dental anxiety

Does the mere thought of going to the dentist make you anxious? You aren’t alone, but avoiding dental care appointments can lead to other health problems besides dental pain. But there are steps you can take to relieve that anxiety.

Medical scribes let the doctor focus on you

The use of medical scribes in doctor’s offices and other healthcare settings is growing in popularity. Using scribes is intended to shift the record-keeping responsibilities from physicians, allowing them to focus on patient care during visits.

Trauma-informed care: What it is, and why it’s important

Because medical exams are invasive, and because many people have experienced some form of trauma and may be uncomfortable with aspects of the exam, healthcare providers should approach care with consideration for what patients may have experienced.

Take control of your health care (exert your patient autonomy)

A healthy and sustainable doctor-patient relationship depends on how comfortable you are with your doctor, which includes your doctor respecting your needs as a patient and how involved you want to be in your health care.

How to talk to your doctor about medication

When your doctor prescribes medication for you, it is important to ask questions. Understand exactly how to take it and what side effects to watch for. If you feel a drug isn’t working for you, or you are experiencing new symptoms, speak up and tell your doctor so she can address the issues and consider other options.

Should you ever not listen to your doctor?

Steve Calechman


When you visit your primary care doctor, you should feel that the advice and recommendations you receive are specific to your personal circumstances. If you think your doctor is not paying enough attention to you as an individual, your doctor-patient relationship may need a checkup.