Brochure/Practice Information Handout
A patient brochure is an effective means of informing patients of the practice's office policies and background information on physician/providers. Educating patients on services, practice operation, and physician/provider responsibilities, as well as patient expectations, enhances patient relations and 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, special training, board certifications and the length of time in practice.
- 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 clearly 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 Refill Process:
- List a prescription refill telephone number.
- 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.
- Website address, if applicable.
Designing 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 clearly legible type style.
- Write the brochure in plain language; avoid clinical information.
- Determine the number of documents to be printed. A six-month supply allows you the option of making revisions.
- Distribute your practice information document to both new and established patients.
An informational document such as 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
More practices are choosing to inform patients of their key services, physician/providers, office staff, policies, patient education, forms, and contact information on an internet-based website. Providing and maintaining an informative user friendly website for potential and existing patients promotes good communication practices. Place the same information described in the patient brochure on your website.
- Email (if applicable)
- In the absence of encryption or portal capabilities, the use of practice email should be clearly communicated. Providing an email address may imply an open method to communicate with the provider (i.e., appointments, changes in medical condition, medication refills, HIV, mental health, etc.). Specifically describe your email policy in your brochure and on your website. Clearly state that non-encrypted, non-secure email will not be utilized for patient sensitive information.
It is important to have a website that is informative and professional. Potential patients can make inferences, either positive or negative, based upon how and what information is posted and conveyed. The office practice website information can serve as an adjunct to your office practice brochure.
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.