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June 15, 1970

Programmed Instruction in Interviewing: An Experiment in Medical Education

Author Affiliations

From the departments of psychiatry, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, East Lansing (Dr. Enelow), and the University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles (Drs. Adler and Wexler).

JAMA. 1970;212(11):1843-1846. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170240047006

Some principles of programmed instruction were applied in producing video tapes for the purpose of teaching interviewing skills. The goal was to teach the physician or medical student to recognize behaviors of an interviewer which either encourage or hinder useful communication from the patient. The optimal interview was defined as one in which the greatest amount of information relevant to diagnosis and treatment is obtained within realistic time limits. A set of interviewing principles was developed, and each script was designed to demonstrate a single principle in an appropriate clinical situation. The interviews, conducted with simulated patients, are interrupted at intervals; a choice of interviewer's actions is offered and the consequences of each choice are illustrated and explained by a narrator. Evaluation research indicates that this can be an effective method of teaching interview skills.