Patient Experience
"Explain 3 Ways"

As providers, explaining in ways our patients understand is one of our most important jobs. When I shadow providers, I tell them to make sure they explain 3 ways. I encourage them to say it, show it, and write it down.

Say it
As providers, this is what we're used to doing. We give instructions to our patients with the hope that they understand and comply with our recommendations.

Show it
A lot of patients are visual learners, so taking the time to show them a visual as you explain tremendously improves their understanding. You can use a poster, 3D model, picture from the internet, etc.

Write it down
If you give your patients written information to take home with them, they will be much more likely to remember and comply with your instructions. This can be something you write out for them, a handout, pamphlet, etc.


Example: prep instructions for a colonoscopy

Say it: "Mr. Allen, in preparation for your colonoscopy, you're only allowed to have clear liquids for the entire day before your colonoscopy. You cannot have any solid food."

Show it: "Mr. Allen, here is a picture that shows what things qualify as clear liquids."

·  Example of clear liquids. Picture taken from


Write it down: "Mr. Allen, here is a handout for you to take with you that shows exactly what qualifies as a clear liquid." 

·  Example of written instructions as taken from



If you're going to the Cleveland Clinic Patient Experience: Empathy + Innovation Summit next week, come and check out my talk. I'll be speaking Monday at 2pm (How to get physicians to the table and keep them there).



Do you want to improve your patient experience? If so, your wait is over.Physician's Guide to Surviving CGCAHPS & HCAHPS and CGCAHPS & HCAHPS Breakthrough are two great books for anyone looking to improve their patient experience!

Thank you to everyone who has already bought a copy! I appreciate your support, and I sincerely hope my books have helped you improve your patient experience.



Click HERE for Physician's Guide to Surviving CGCAHPS & HCAHPS


Click HERE for CGCAHPS & HCAHPS Breakthrough




04/28/2016 2:35am

Working with patience and people overall is a lot more difficult then many people think. This guide is pure gold fro those who have communication problems.

07/05/2016 3:22am

Well you had a good patient experience about it even the people have got their role to play in this and the teachers have their role. No party should neglect its role as there will be a gap left un complete.

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You should keep dialogue with your patients this is how you can gain their trust.

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    Trina E. Dorrah, MD, MPH, is a board-certified internal medicine physician who practices at Baylor Scott & White Health in Round Rock, TX. In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Dorrah is the medical director of quality and the physician champion for the patient experience. Dr. Dorrah is passionate about improving the patient experience and she loves to share her expertise with others. 

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