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August 1992

Assessing Medical Interview Performance: Effect of Interns' Gender and Month of Training

Author Affiliations

From the University of Florida College of Medicine (Drs Meuleman and Harward) and the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Dr Meuleman), Gainesville, Fla.

Arch Intern Med. 1992;152(8):1677-1680. doi:10.1001/archinte.1992.00400200109020

Observation of history taking is commonly used to assess interviewing skills in medical internships, yet specific interviewing problems are infrequently documented. We evaluated videotaped recordings of 83 complete medical histories of new patients for content and questioning technique. Frequent deficiencies were found in history of medication compliance, gynecologic and psychiatric history, use of open questions, and mental status examination. The initial segments of 48 interviews were evaluated, and in 44% the patient was not allowed to complete their opening statement of concerns. Female physicians allowed fewer patients to finish their opening statement, and physicians at the end of the internship permitted the patients less time to express their concerns. Structured evaluation of complete histories reveals frequent interviewing problems as well as possible important effects of physician gender and length of training.

(Arch Intern Med. 1992;152:1677-1680)