Listen actively with empathy and respect.
Identify yourself and greet the patient.
Determine if there is a need for interpreter services.
Set the tone by asking open-ended questions and being patient.
Elicit the health beliefs of the patient as they relate to the reason for the visit as well as the patient’s health behaviors. The following questions may help in this process.
"What worries you the most?"
"Have you started any treatment on your own or gotten advice from others?"
"What do you think has caused the problem and what do you think started it?"
"How can I be of most help to you?"
Assess priorities, values, and supports in the patient’s life that may impact health and health behaviors.
"I’d like to get to know you more today. Could you tell me about yourself?"
"With whom do you live? Where do you work?"
"What brought you to this country? How does medical care differ here?"
"Do you have family and friend that help you with decisions or give you advice?"
"Do you have any trouble reading medicine bottles or appointment cards?"
"Is transportation a problem for you?"
Recommend a plan of action with adequate explanation and understanding.
Use language the patient can easily understand (avoid jargon).
Be guided by the patient about how much information to provide.
Check to make sure patient has understood by asking him/her to paraphrase. For example: "To be sure that we understand each other, would you please tell me what I just explained to you?"
Negotiate by involving the patient in next steps and decisions.
"Now that we understand each other, let’s come up with a plan that works for you."
"What do you think should be the next steps?"
Teacher & Educational Development, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, 2002