Medical Education Research Awards
ELICITING INFORMATION DURING A STANDARDIZED PATIENT HISTORY
Sydney Greene, BA Candidate; Emily J Noonan, PhD, MA; Laura A. Weingartner, PhD, MS
Learning how to take a detailed patient history is a fundamental skill that is essential for all medical students to master. Understanding the amount of information elicited in various categories of a patient history may reveal areas where many students struggle to engage the patient, gaps in medical education that could be addressed, or possible predictors of patient satisfaction.
I coded videos of rising third year medical students as they took a patient history and counted each time the student elicited information, the student gave explanations, and the patient asked questions. These counts were compared across the main categories of the patient history, which included past medical history, a hormone use discussion specific to this encounter, family medical history, social history, mental health history, sexual history, and the treatment plan.
On average, students prompted for information 50 times during a new patient encounter while providing about 12 explanations. Under 4% of questions were related to the patient’s mental health on average compared to 23% of student questions about past medical history and 24% about social history. Patients asked about four questions on average, with most being asked during discussions of the treatment plan.
The results may indicate that students feel uncomfortable asking questions relating to mental health or that students feel mental health is less important to consider than other factors when taking a patient history. In comparison, students seem to feel confident and comfortable discussing the past medical history and social history of the patient.
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Teutsch, Carol. Patient-Doctor Communication. Medical Clinics of North America. V(87):2003.
Greene, Sydney E; Weingartner, Laura; and Noonan, Emily, "Eliciting Information During a Standardized Patient History" (2020). Undergraduate Research Events. 16.