Document Type


Publication Date


Focus Area

Medical Practice Transformation



In healthcare, it is vital to understand patients’ personal needs and preferences so that they remain integrated into the care that they receive. However, sensitive topics, including substance use, sexuality, safety, diet, and mental health, often pose a challenge for adequate patient-provider communication. The aim of this study was to enhance patient-provider communication through incorporation of patient-centered language on intake forms through The University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC).


The new form developed prioritized inclusive and patient-centered language. Changes increased the number of in-depth follow-up questions, person-first language, and added clarifications on potentially confusing questions. The new form was piloted at Dr. Kathy Mariani’s Primary Care clinic within the UVM Health Network. Adult patients presenting for a wellness exam were given the new form, along with a survey to obtain their opinion about the form.


In total, sixty-four surveys were collected over a period of seven days. Results demonstrated respondents feeling positively about the new form. The vast majority indicated comfort with answering questions on sensitive topics (sexual history, substance use, and diet/exercise). In addition, nearly all participants affirmed that they felt their unique identity was adequately represented through the intake form.


The results suggest that our edits may have helped make the intake forms more inviting and patient centered. However, a handful of patients indicated that the hard copy we provided was somewhat repetitive of required pre-visit forms found online. Future projects may focus on integration/standardization of the form within the UVMMC Health Network, allowing for virtual completion.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.