We all go through the standard questions… but there are a few that stand out to make patient experience and working with the MD much better.  Here are readers’ three favorite questions you can ask patients that will make your clinic a better place for patients and staff:

1.  Did you have a good weekend?  (Or, do you have plans this weekend?)

So much of healthcare is about building that rapport and relationship with patients and the best first step is to ask them about themselves.  Asking about their weekend, or their hobbies, or what they like to read is a great way to start learning about your patients without being too invasive.  Don’t miss the opportunity to make notes in patient charts about what you learn so that doctors and other staff can remember some things that make this patient unique.

2.  Is there anything else you need?  Are there resources or is there background information I can help you find?

We always want to be the source of good, accurate, relevant information for our patients so that they don’t go searching the internet for information that could mislead them.  The best way to do that is to offer and ask.  Is there something relevant to the patient visit that you could give them now, or are there additional resources that you could recommend?  Some MAs even keep stacks of print-outs with more information about common conditions so they’re ready to hand them to patients.  The more informed the patient is when they leave, the better they can address any condition they have.

3.  When is a good time for me to check in with you about how you’re feeling?

Many clinics now have protocols for follow-up calls, but if your clinic doesn’t have a plan (or if the plan is for you to call), make sure you let the patient know they’ll be hearing from you.  Asking up front about when they can be reached – and how- is a great way to make your job easier by getting a hold of them plus flagging for them that their care doesn’t end when they leave the clinic that day.

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