Brochure/Practice Information Handout
A brochure is an effective means of informing patients of the practice's office policies, services, provider responsibilities, and the patient’s responsibilities. Setting expectations early can strengthen patient relations and improve satisfaction.
Preparing a Patient Brochure
Consider including the following information in your patient brochure:
- Your practice philosophy and goals in the form of a welcome statement.
- Professional information about each physician/provider, i.e., undergraduate and medical schools, residencies, specialized training, board certifications, the length of time in practice, and hospital affliations.
- Specialties offered and scope of practice for each specialty.
- Office guidelines and policies:
- Office hours:
- Days of the week the office is open and closed.
- How to seek care in the event of an urgent/emergent situation when the office is closed:
- List a telephone number for on-call coverage.
- Specify calling 911 (or local EMS number) in the event of an emergency.
- Appointment policies addressing:
- Missed (no-show) appointment.
- Canceled appointment.
- Same-day appointment.
- Late arrival for an appointment.
- Cause for termination.
- Method of communication of test results.
- Prescription practices:
- List a prescription refill telephone number.
- Practice’s narcotics policy, if applicable.
- Office hours:
- Billing questions:
- Where to direct questions.
- List a billing telephone number.
- Clarify telephone procedures:
- Special telephone hours, if available.
- Patient message retrieval and when to expect a return call.
- Describe your fee schedule, financial policy, billing policies, and the use of collection agencies. Clarify your policy regarding when payment for service is expected, and the arrangement of payment plans.
- Describe insurance agreements and policies. Explain whether or not staff will assist in preparing and processing insurance claims.
- Provide a map with clear simple directions to the practice.
- Include an invitation asking patients to actively participate in their own care.
- The website address, if applicable.
Designing a Patient Brochure
You are in the best position to determine what form, style, and topics are most appropriate for your practice information document. Design your booklet to reflect your practice.
- Design options include a pamphlet, booklet, brochure, or information sheet format.
- Solicit staff suggestions in identifying problem areas requiring clarification in the booklet.
- When relating your policies, approach your explanation from the patient's perspective, thereby expressing your concern for the patient.
- Set a personal tone in the document by using the "you" form in the text rather than "our patients," e.g., "We want you to know how to..."
- Consider the size and type of font. You will want to select a legible type style.
- Write the brochure in plain language; avoid medical jargon.
- Distribute your practice information document to both new and established patients.
- If your practice has non-English speaking patients, consider printing brochures in languages to meet your patients’ needs.
A patient brochure serves as a vehicle to educate patients. Review information with new patients and changes with established patients to assure understanding.
Office Practice Website Information
If your practice chooses to have a website it should be informative and professional. Potential patients can make inferences, either positive or negative, based upon how and what information is posted and conveyed. Place the same information described in the patient brochure on your website. Providing and maintaining an informative, user-friendly website for potential and existing patients promotes good communication practices.
Practices with a patient portal can provide a brief description of the portal’s main features in the brochure. The description can include the address to the portal as well as a phone number for technical support.
Medical Mutual Insurance Company of Maine's "Practice Tips" are offered as reference information only and are not intended to establish practice standards or serve as legal advice. MMIC recommends you obtain a legal opinion from a qualified attorney for any specific application to your practice.