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Fam Pract Manag. 2008;15(5):41

Strengthen your patient relationships

I often begin or end new patient visits with the question “How do you want me to remember you?” Usually, patients reply with some personal detail, such as “I am a World War II veteran.” Sometimes patients have to think about it and let me know at their next visit. Not only does this tactic help me remember my patients, but it also demonstrates curiosity and a personal touch that is often missing in the medical environment.

Use screen savers to convey information to patients

I create customized screen savers for our exam room computers that feature information for patients to read while they're waiting. We use Screensaver Wonder 4 (available at, which is easy for a computer novice to use and, at a cost of about $20, relatively inexpensive.

Nearly every time I enter the exam room, I see the patient reading the screen saver. Topics have included our breadth of services, vaccines and information about disease processes. Patients tell us they appreciate the information and find reading it to be a good use of their time while they're waiting. The screen savers have also decreased the number of paper signs that collect on office walls. More important, they have helped us stay on top of health maintenance tasks. I don't have to work as hard to convince patients of the value of a particular service (e.g., colonoscopy) because the screen saver educates them. Purchasing this tool is the best $20 my practice has ever spent.

Understanding private, fee-for-service Medicare plans


Practice Pearls presents readers' advice on practice operations and patient care, along with tips drawn from the literature. Submit a pearl (250 words or less) to FPM at

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