Insider tips to maximize your doctor visit

Here's what Harvard physicians advise you to do at your next appointment.

You know the routine: you're waiting in the exam room, and your doctor comes in for what seems like a very quick visit before leaving to see the next person. You're left feeling that you didn't ask all of your questions or get a good understanding of your treatment plan. What happened?

"We're under incredible pressure, and we're scrutinized to be sure we're seeing enough patients," explains geriatrician Dr. Suzanne Salamon, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. "We don't have many minutes, and yet we have to go over each person's medical issues, medications, and even end-of-life issues. That doesn't leave a lot of time to talk."

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