Plan ahead: Writing down concern ahead of time greatly improves doctor-patient communication.

Prioritize: Identify your three main health concerns and talk about the most important one first.

Bring your meds: At least once a year bring in all your prescription and OTC dugs and supplements so your doctor can check for unnecessary ones and interactions.

Take notes: Don’t expect to remember everything your doctor says, especially if you’re not feeling well or if you get a worrisome diagnosis.

Take advantage of your care team:  Clear communication may not be your doctor’s strength. But there often are people in the office trained to talk with patients, and they have more time.

Expect quality time: Physicians today spend much of their time with their back to patients as they enter data into a computer. That can make visits impersonal.  If you feel that your doctor focuses too much on the screen or that your concerns are routinely left unaddressed, consider looking for a new physician.

Source: Consumer Reports magazine March 2018 Mary Talen. Ph.D director of primary-care behavioral health education at Northwestern University’s Family Medicine Residency Program in Chicago and Marvin M. Lipman , M.D., Consumer Reports chief medical advisor

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