Get More from Your Doctor’s Visit

Doctor’s appointments are short — typically about 15 minutes. Yet, there can be so much to discuss, especially for older adults. 

Preparation is key, says Jeffrey Linder, MD, MPH, a general internist and primary care clinician-investigator at Northwestern Medicine.

Some tips to get the most out of your appointments:

Write down your questions in advance. “It would be helpful for both the doctor and patient to do some agenda setting,” Linder says. “Be clear about why you are going in that day and [make] sure that is what gets addressed.” 

Do your research. Linder says patients can be prepared by researching some of their health issues in advance. It can help them “ask more informed questions and get at the root of why [they] are coming in,” he says. 

c Don’t be hesitant to visit your doctor often. “Frequent contact can actually be very informative for the doctor and be helpful in patient care,” Linder says. “The frequency of visits sometimes may be more important than the total amount of time.”