The first thing we always ask our patients when they sit in our chair is "Have you had any changes in your medical history?" Of course, they quickly answer no. Nothing is more stressful than half way through treatment, the patient casually mentions they had a heart attack a month ago or started taking a blood thinning medication a week ago.
Instead of asking if they've had changes, start off by asking your patient if they have been to the hospital since the last time they were at your office. Patients forget a doctor's visit or a change in medication, but they don't forget being in the hospital. If they haven't been to the hospital, they are now thinking on medical terms and will remember their slight changes in health with your follow up questions. Asking if they've been to the hospital will also give you an idea of how controlled their health is. If you know they have diabetes and they report they were admitted to the hospital for a day, you know the are not in control. If they have high blood pressure but their numbers were within the normal ranges for that day but they were hospitalized in the last few months, they probably are not well regulated. Knowing if they have been to the hospital will give you a better understanding of their overall health.
How do YOU update medical histories in your office?