Knowing the right way to ask questions goes a long way to getting correct, up-to-date information from patients. Here are some tips.

Introducing yourself (should be mandatory):

Don’t: Hello. What can I do for you? (followed by nothing)
Do: Good morning/Hi/Hello. My name is Mary. How can I help you today?

Questions are a lot easier to get correct answers to if you ask open-ended questions instead of yes/no questions.

Don’t: Do you still live at 11 Happy Lane?
Do: What is your mailing address, please?

Getting a correct/current phone number is essential for follow up work.

Don’t: Is your phone number still 555-1212?
Do: What number can we reach you at if we need to get in touch with you after your visit?

Insurance information changes, even if the insurance company doesn’t. Aetna HMO may change to Aetna PPO. Therefore,

Don’t: Do you still have Aetna for insurance?
Do: Do you have insurance we can bill for you today?

Let the patient give you the card, and check for yourself.

Explain why you want information.

Don’t: What is your date of birth?
Do: For safety purposes, may I have your date of birth?

Co-pays are an agreement between the insurance company and the patient. They are expected at time of service:

Don’t: Do you want to pay your co-pay today?
Do: How would you like to pay for your $XX co-pay today?

Some places aren’t sure how much they should charge, because it’s not listed on the card. If you opt to collect:

Co-pay (Optional): I can take your co-pay, if you would like to take care of that today.

Getting contacts beyond just next of kin can be important in case of emergencies.

Don’t: Is there anyone else you’d like to list on your account?
Do: Is there anyone else you would like us to contact if we couldn’t get in touch with your next of kin in a medical emergency?

Feel free to share any more ideas you have for similar or other situations.

Leave a Reply