Follow Up Question

Help a patient integrate information that you have given by asking a follow-up question immediately after you have given the information. Providers can assist patients with integrating information from the content of the sandwich by asking a follow up question referencing the content just provided.

Follow up Question Skills

Examples of Questions

  • "How would it be for you?"

  • "Knowing that, what do you think?" 

  • “Has that ever happened to you before?”

  • “How did you manage it?”

  • “How would you manage that?”

  • “Have you experienced anything like that before?”

Eliciting further questions

When you want to encourage the patient to ask for information, it is far preferable to ask, “What questions do you have?” rather than, “Do you have any questions?”

Teach Back

When you want to check to be sure patients have successfully integrated new information, an excellent strategy is to ask them to repeat back to you what they heard you say. This is called “teach back.”

Some providers are concerned that this can seem awkward or condescending. When implementing “teach back,” an easy way to avoid awkwardness and not appear condescending is to take full responsibility for the communication. Rather than starting with, “Can you please repeat back to me what we just discussed” try one of the following statements: 

  • “I would like to be sure that I was as clear as I could be…” 

  • “We have gone over quite a lot of information and I want to be sure I didn’t forget to tell you something important…” 

  • “I don’t always explain things as clearly as I think I have…”