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Jake Keator
March 10, 2022

As a physician, having insight into a patient’s family history can help you diagnose several potential medical issues. The process of collecting this information may seem daunting to some, but with encouragement and education you can increase the likelihood of receiving a patients detailed family medical history. Below are several ways you can encourage or remind patients to take this next step toward improved care.  

Talk about it during patient visits 

Perhaps the easiest way to encourage your patients to consider collecting family history is to discuss the benefits during a patient’s visit. This allows physicians to clearly explain the reasoning behind the request, and why it’s important to understand the topic.  

An added benefit of this in-person approach is the ability of the patient to ask questions and receive an immediate response. This discussion will remain fresh in the mind of the patient and provide an increased chance of following through.  

Place a reminder in a phone call or email  

As part of a physician’s office chances are high that your office reaches out to patients on a regular basis. You reach out to via email or phone call to schedule visits or send reminders for upcoming appointments, so why not include a simple request to consider collecting family medical history?  

Weaving this into current messaging is simple and can be very effective if done correctly. A simple added line in a patient email can read:  

“We also highly recommend collecting family medical history prior to your appointment. This information can be used to provide you a higher quality of care.”  

Adding relevant links to an email will allow patients to research further on their own and begin the process of obtaining this information on their own. They can then provide the finished product when they meet with the physician.  

Create physical collateral 

Create a physical brochure to keep at a reception desk or to hand to patients during an in-person conversation. A brochure can be easily designed and printed and may help answer questions that arise following a visit.  

Post to social media 

Social media is a critical aspect to quickly dispersing information to patients. Consider placing a link into a post on your social channels showing the relevance of collecting family medical history.  

This is yet another quick and easy way to get patients thinking about gathering information of their own. It can also be expanded into a campaign where your practice or center dedicates a week or longer to explaining why patients should understand their family history, and how it benefits them relating to the level of care they can receive.

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