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Education and Training

The PACE System

People often complain about doctors' poor communication. While many doctors could stand to improve their communication, there are good reasons why patients also should be effective communicators:

  • Doctors' appointments are usually limited to about 15 minutes, so it's important for patients to be prepared and organized.
  • The doctor's ability to determine what is wrong and how to treat it depends almost entirely on the communication between the doctor and patient.
  • Science has provided many wonderful medications and tests, but the doctor's decision to order a test or prescribe a medication most often depends on what information is provided by the patient.

In general, effective patient communication involves:

Presenting detailed information about how you are feeling.

Asking questions if desired information is not provided.

Checking your understanding of information that is given to you.

Expressing any concerns about the recommended treatment.

These four communication skills make up the PACE system for communicating with you doctor. You can get the most out of this web site if you take notes as you work through the pages. There will be points where you will want to write down information to tell your doctor. A PACE Guide Sheet will aid you in taking notes, which you can then bring with you to your doctor's appointment. Please click here for a copy of the Guide Sheet.

You will need Acrobat Reader to access the Guide Sheet. If you do not have it installed on your computer click  for a FREE copy.

For addtional Patient Resources click here. For additional primary care information at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center click here.

Table of Contents

Presenting Detailed Information
Guidelines for Reporting New or Changed Symptoms
Tips About Medications
Medication Record Form
Stating What You Expect
Asking Questions
Sample Questions About Diagnosis and Prognosis
Sample Questions About Tests or Procedures
Sample Questions About Medications
Sample Questions About Other Treatments
A List of All Sample Questions
Checking Your Understanding of Information
Expressing Concerns
Tips About Making Appointments
Tips About Medical Records