Introduction to history taking

Written by Dr.Md.Redwanul Huq (Masum)
Monday, 20 June 2011 12:23

Skills of a Medical Student for proper History Taking:

  • Ability to open and close a consultation with the Patient
  • Showing respect and courtesy to the Patient
  • Showing empathy to the Patient
  • Active listening to the Patient
  • Use of non-verbal language with the Patient
  • Use of open and closed questions with the Patient
  • Being sensitive culturally.

Setting the Stage for History Taking:

  • The layout of the consulting room should-

* Allow for good eye contact,

* Enable easy access to computers or notes,

* Avoid ‘distance’ between the doctor and patient.

  • Welcome the patient with smiling face (In case of Out-Patient setting)
  • Take care with the opening greeting as it helps to be warm and welcoming so as to so as to put the patient at ease.
  • Introduce and identify yourself properly
  • Know and use the patient’s name and consider how he/she would like to be addressed (forename or surname)
  • Ensure comfort and privacy.

Characteristics of good communication:

  •  Have a good eye contact with the Patient
  • Let the Patient tell you his/her story freely without any interruption
  • Show an active interest in the patient that will help to establish trust and encourage honest and open communication
  • Use all of your senses to ‘listen’ for better history taking
  • Ensure that you will treat all information as confidential
  • During asking questions, keep them as open as possible, like-

*What has happened to bring you to me/hospital today?* or

*What seems to be the problem now?*

  • Always keep an open mind and ask yourself if you’re making assumptions.
  • Get prepared to reconsider the causes of symptoms that you have decided upon.
  • Consider how the patient may end the consultation: *If you wish to stop this interview at any time then please let me know.*

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