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Making the most of a 10-minute office visit

Family TIES had an opportunity to do a series of “Information Exchange” workshops across the state. In the Western Region, we were fortunate to have Dr. Brian Dempsey come and share his ideas with us on how to turn a short amount of time into a productive office visit. The following are ideas that came from that workshop.

  • Organize yourself before the appointment. Write questions and concerns down so you will remember.

  • If you have paperwork to be filled out (school physical, nursing orders, etc.), understand that the doctor cannot do that in a ten-minute visit. Be prepared to leave the papers and give the doctor a few days to complete them.

  • Realize that a ten-minute visit means ten minutes. Don’t schedule this type of visit if you have major issues or a subject that needs more time to discuss.

  • If you need a longer appointment, try to book late in the day, perhaps the doctor’s last appointment

  • When you have an appointment for one of your children, do not take along the rest of your children “just for the doctor to take a quick look at ” . Make separate appointments for each child.

  • Be prepared to answer the doctor’s questions precisely. “Since Tuesday” is much more helpful than, “oh, a few days, I guess…”

  • Write down answers to your questions as you go over them with your doctor. This will save you both time instead of having to call him back because you forgot what he said.

  • If you make your appointment for 10am, you should be there on time. Otherwise your appointment will be rushed, and you will leave feeling like you didn’t get the answers or the time that you needed.

  • Most importantly, remember that your relationship with your child’s physician is a partnership. If you work together as a team, your child will always benefit.

For more information on parent-professional relationships, or on upcoming workshops, call your Family TIES Coordinator at

Family TIES of Massachusetts is funded and supported by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Family Health and Nutrition.