How to Have Better Patients

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Neil Baum, MD

Clinical Associate Professor of Urology, Tulane Medical School, New Orleans, LA

Author, Marketing Your Clinical Practice-Ethically, Effectively, and Economically, Jones Bartlett Publishers


You can have a better doctor–patient interaction by providing your patients with a form that encourages them to write down their questions that they would like answered at the time of their office visit. Encourage your patients to complete the form with their questions before they come to the office or have the receptionist give the form to patients when they check in. Patients can then complete the form when they are in the reception area or in the examination room awaiting the physician. An example of a form is shown on the right.
Bottom line: This simple technique avoids the “door knob phenomenon,” where patients ask their questions as the soon as the doctor places his or her hand on the door knob and he or she is planning to leave the room and terminate the visit.