This is a great question because privacy laws also come into play. Remember that if an employee is asking for accommodation based upon a disability, for example, you cannot inquire about the nature of their medical issue or what led to the disability.
What you can request, though, is guidance from their physician about what sort of accommodations may be required. This may come via what is known as a ‘functional abilities form,’ or another sort of medical documentation, but ideally it’s one that provides you guidance on what modifications will be required of you as an employer. If the documentation the employee provides is not clear, you can always request further clarification.