The effect of physician behavior on the collection of data

Author: Beckman, H. B.; Frankel, R. M.

Description: Determining the patient’s major reasons for seeking care is of critical importance in a successful medical encounter. To study the physician’s role in soliciting and developing the patient’s concerns at the outset of a clinical encounter, 74 office visits were recorded. In only 17 (23%) of the visits was the patient provided the opportunity to complete his or her opening statement of concerns. In 51 (69%) of the visits the physician interrupted the patient’s statement and directed questions toward a specific concern; in only 1 of these 51 visits was the patient afforded the opportunity to complete the opening statement. In six (8%) return visits, no solicitation whatever was made. Physicians play an active role in regulating the quantity of information elicited at the beginning of the clinical encounter, and use closed-ended questioning to control the discourse. The consequence of this controlled style is the premature interruption of patients, resulting in the potential loss of relevant information.

Subject headings: Communication Barriers; Female; Humans; Internal Medicine; Male; Medical History Taking; Physician-Patient Relations; Verbal Behavior

Publication year: 1984

Journal or book title: Annals of Internal Medicine

Volume: 101

Issue: 5

Pages: 692-696

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Serial number: 3937