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Flashcards in Clinical Interviewing Deck (44)
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Physicians and patient care

67% docs thought patients knew their names
18% of pts that correctly identified physicians name
77% of physicians believe pts know dx vs 57% pts that know dx
98% docs state they discussed pts fears/anxieties vs 54% pts say docs never do this


Chasm for excellence

Physician communication when prescribing medicaitons:
26% failed to mention name of new med
13% failed to mention purpose of meds
65% failed to review adverse effects
66% failed to tell pt the duration of tx


Key on what pts value

People place more importance on doctors interpersonal skills then their medical judgement or expierence


Benefits of good interviewing

resolving symptoms, improves compliance with meds and appts, helps devo trust adn can lead you to find info that's essential in making correct dx, decreased risk of being sued


Malpractice litigation

Patient compliants predict malpractice
8% physicians account for 85% of claim payouts, most important predictor in being sued = Quality of Relationship between pt and doctor


cited reasons for litigation

didn't listen, didn't return calls, showed little interest, rude, not enough time, didn't answer questions adequately


What pts want

1. Treats you with dignity and respect
2. Listens carefully to your health concerns
3. Easy to talk to
4. Takes concerns seriously
5. Willing to spend enough time with you
6. Truly cares about you and your health


How to be valued by your pt

 Get to know your patients
 Become an expert interviewer
 Let your patients tell their stories- be a good listener.
 What you say and how you say it does make a difference.
 Communication and Interpersonal Skills are now a Core Competency for all of Medicine.


 is the essential core of all medical practice
 Good ______ (French for “relationship” or “connection”) is essential for a good DPR
 Rapport is established during the ______, as are mutual expectations

The doctor-patient relationship (DPR)
clinical interview


_______ are often more important to patients than technical expertise
 A good doctor is _____but still maintains an appropriate DPR with clear role definitions and boundaries
 Doctors must learn to be______and take care not to use their patients, consciously or unconsciously, to gratify their own needs
 All of the above are especially important in psychiatry, where effective communication, often involving sensitive topics, is paramount

Interpersonal factors
empathic (attentive, supportive, caring)


 Proposed by George Engel in 1977 as a more integrated way of looking at patients, their diseases, symptoms, and behaviors
 The model is now widely accepted, but increasingly distant from the way medicine is actually practiced in the real world of 15-minute office visits

Biopsychosocial Model


 The ______ refers to the patient’s anatomical and molecular substrates of disease
 The ______ refers to the patient’s psychodynamic factors, motivations, and personality in relation to their illness
 The______ includes environmental, cultural, and familial influences on the patient’s experience and expression of illness

biological system

psychological system

social system


a.k.a. “autocratic”, “doctor-knows-best”. Can be desirable, e.g., in emergencies. Preferred by many doctors and some patients



doctor dispenses accurate information, but choices are left to the patient. Preferred by many patients, but often difficult for doctors



doctor knows patient and his or her situation and values well, and seeks to share decision-making responsibilities. Often ideal, but requires more time and intimate knowledge of the patient



doctor acts as an ally who actively advocates a particular course of action (e.g., weight loss or smoking cessation)



are hypothetical constructs originating in psychoanalytic theory. They are very useful in understanding disturbed DPRs that can lead to poor care

Transference and countertransference


refers to the unconscious process in which the patient attributes to the doctor aspects of important past relationships, especially early/parental relationships

*Patients may unconsciously transfer residual feelings from early relationships (usually with parental/authority figures) to doctors, leading to unexpected, exaggerated, often disruptive reactions


What is countertransference?

unconscious process in which the DOCTOR attributes to the PATIENT aspects of important past relationships, especially early/parental relationships


According to Lipkin, ALL interviews serve three basic functions

1. Determining the nature of the problem
2. Developing and maintaining a therapeutic relationship
3. Communicating information and implementing a treatment plan


What two additional functions do pysch interviews do?

1. Recognizing the psychological determinants of the
patient’s reactions and behaviors
2. Symptom classification leading to diagnosis


6 strategies for developing Rapport

1. Putting patient and interviewer at ease
2. Finding patient’s pain and expressing compassion
3. Evaluating patient’s insight and becoming an ally
4. Showing expertise
5. Establishing authority as a physician or therapist
6. Balancing the roles of empathic listener, expert, and authority


Benefits of open ended questions

Use open-ended questions at first (e.g., “So, where shall we begin?”)
Open-ended questions are less time-efficient and less precise, but more effective at getting to the “real” problem when the presenting complaint can’t be taken at face value.
Five-minutes of open-ended conversation at the beginning of the interview can save much time in the endB


When to use Close-ended questions

Use closed-ended questions later on to establish diagnosis
closed-ended questions encourage them to respond to what is asked, and no more


refers to various means of verbal and non-verbal communication that encourage the patient to continue telling his or her story

1. Nodding one’s head in acknowledgement
2. Leaning forward and increasing eye contact
3. Using phrases like, “Yes, and then...?” or “I see, go on...”


is the supportive re-stating of what the patient has just told the doctor, though often in different, more succinct language (think reflection = mirror)
confirms that the doctor is listening to, thinking about, understanding, and empathizing with what the patient is trying to communicate



is questioning that clarifies or encapsulates what the patient has just said, or that seeks additional related information
 demonstrates the doctor’s attentiveness and desire to clearly understand the patient
 is especially helpful in confirming what patients with disorganized thinking are trying to communicate



is used with patients who have disorganized or tangential thinking, or who talk excessively in an unhelpful way

* Initial attempts at redirection should be polite, but clear.
With rambling, psychotic patients, redirection may have to be quite blunt and frequent.


 is one of the most important (and hardest to use) interviewing techniques

 So long as a posture of focused interest is maintained by the doctor, a long, often uncomfortable silence gives patients “permission” to continue talking about the painful subject that precipitated the silence


 involves extrapolating another meaning from what the patient has said
 should only be used when good rapport has been established, as it can sound (and be) presumptuous and make the patient defensive