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Health Literacy: Open ended questions

Resources for understanding health literacy best practices.

Open ended questions

  1. Start with “how” or “what” questions
  2. Address all patient concerns about the encounter
  3. Adopt a “patient-centered” approach

Open ended question examples:

  • Assure patients and families that there are no “bad or stupid” questions.
  • “I have given you a lot of information today, what would you like to review again?” “Tell me what comfort measures you can use at home with your child after getting this vaccine? “
  • “What questions do you have for me?
  • Normalize questions “Most people ask a lot of questions when ___”

Open ended questions are questions that cannot be answered with a static response. Use open ended questions rather than yes/no questions to further assess patient understanding.

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