Blog | Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Patient interaction tips

Here at ACP Internist headquarters, we're frantically reviewing our notes from Internal Medicine 2008 to decide what's the most useful and interesting info to include in our July issue. But some things, while worth sharing, just don't fit neatly into a story. So here you go...

From the session "Improving Patient Satisfaction and Health Outcomes": When you first enter the exam room, do you say "How are you?" to patients. That may not be the best idea, as it confuses patients about whether they should answer you conversationally, "Fine" or clinically, "I've had this rash for a week now."

From the "Update in Neurology": To determine if a patient has dementia, there's an easier, more effective technique than the mini-mental exam. Just ask the patient or a family member what the patient is interested in, and engage him or her in a conversation on that topic. If they can't keep up with the conversation, there's something wrong. (e.g. A basketball fan from New York should know how the Knicks are doing and a French chef should be able to tell you how to make bernaise sauce.)