Patients frequently voice their frustrations at having only a brief window of time—often just minutes—to communicate all of their health issues to their doctors. Dr. David Sherer, anesthesiologist and author of Bottom Line’s What Your Doctor Isn’t Telling You blog, lists a few things that patients can do to make the most of these visits. First, write down the two or three of the things about which you are most concerned. Next, be prepared to give your doctor a list of medications (and dosages!) you are taking. Consider asking your physician if there are alternatives to your current treatment, as well as an explanation for any new treatments or medications. Finally, try to have lab tests done in advance of office visits so that results can be discussed in the office without the need for additional appointments.

David Sherer, MD, is an American physician, inventor, and author. He currently practices anesthesiology in the suburbs of Washington, DC, and is a tireless advocate for hospitalized patients. For more great tips from Dr. Sherer, check out his other videos and Bottom Line blog “What Your Doctor Isn’t Telling You.”

For more with Dr. Sherer, click here for his podcast and video interviews, or purchase his memoir, The House of Black and White: My Life with and Search for Louise Johnson Morris.