Communication Tips with PCS Patients

Everything you need to know about conversations with PCS

Michelle Castleberry avatar
Written by Michelle Castleberry
Updated over a week ago


Interact with your PCS patient as you would with any human patient: using good communication techniques.

Speak naturally.

  • Use a natural, normal pace: not too fast, and not too slow.

  • Pause after each question and listen for PCS patient's answer.

  • Be patient, ask your next question right after his/her answer. If you jump into your next question too quickly, your PCS patient may not hear your first few words.

  • Use appropriate or strategic medical jargon: use words you would use with a human patient.

  • If your PCS patient didn’t understand, try rephrasing the question.

Ask one question at a time.

  • Avoid multiple or stacked questions. Just like with real patients, incorrect use of questions may result in erroneous information or omission of pertinent data. If you ask your PCS patient, “Do you drink, smoke, or use any recreational drugs?”, your PCS patient may admit to using one substance and omit the others. 

Avoid leading questions.

  • Leading questions tend to supply a particular answer for the patient. Avoid questions like “You’ve never had anything like this before, right?”

Be mindful with follow up questions containing pronouns. 

  • AI & neural networks aren’t yet on par with the human brain when it comes to understanding conversation context, so when asking follow-up questions that use the same subject as the previous question be mindful that you may have to repeat or clarify your question. For example,
    Learner: “Are you taking any medications?”
    PCS Patient: “I take Tylenol sometimes, like when I have a headache”.
    Leaner: “How often is that?” or “How often does that happen?”

  • A better question may be, “How often do you take Tylenol?”, or an even better first question may be to clarify “Are you taking any prescription medications?” or “Are you taking any over the counter medications?”


"Basic" Examples




Hello [Patient Name]!

What is your name?

Good Morning.

How would you like to be addressed?

Chief Complaint

What brings you in today?

Can you tell me what is going on?

Chief Complaint Additional Concerns

Anything else going on?

Is there anything else you'd like to talk about while you're here?


Where is the location of the pain?

Can you tell me where it hurts?


On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the pain?

How bad is the pain on a scale of 1 to 10?

Quality (Character)

How would you describe it if you put it into words?

Can you describe the pain?


How long has this been going on?

When did it start?


Does the pain go or move anywhere?

Does the pain travel anywhere?

Aggravating Factors

What makes your pain worse?

Do you find anything makes the pain worse?

Alleviating Factors

Has anything seem to make the pain better?

Have you noticed anything that makes the pain better?

Associated Factors

Do you have any other symptoms?

Have you had any other symptoms accompanying it?

Past Medical History

How has your health been in general?

Do you have any other medical conditions that I should know about?


Do you have any allergies?

Are you allergic to any medications?

HITS - Hospitalization, Injuries, Trauma, and Surgery

Do you have any serious medical conditions?

Have you been hospitalized?

Have you had any surgeries?

Any recent illnesses?

Any hospitalizations?

Any surgeries?

Family History

Are your parents living?

Do your parents have any health problems?

Is there a history of high blood pressure (cancer, asthma, diabetes, ... etc.) in your family?

Tell me about your family history?

Has anyone in the family suffered from anything like this?

Any family history of medical problems?

Social History

How old are you?

What is your occupation?

Do you use tobacco products?

Do you drink alcohol - whine, beer, liquor?

What is your age?

What do you do for a living?

Do you smoke?

Any alcohol use?


Are you taking any prescription medications?

Are you taking any over-the-counter medications?

Effect on patient's life

How has the pain affected your daily life?

How has this affected you?

Health Maintenance

Do you do any preventative health maintenance?

Do you see any other doctors regularly?

Closing of Interview

Do you have any questions for me?

Is there anything more I can do for you?

Easter Eggs

What is our favorite movie?

What is the meaning of life?

Are you seeing someone?

Will you take over the world?

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