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JCOM Abstract

J Clin Outcomes Manage 
2005 Aug;12(8):415-418
The medical inquiry: invite, listen, summarize
Lin CT, Platt FW, Hardee JT, Boyle D, Bennett L, Dwinnell B

Abstract Objective: To present a model for conducting a medical interview. Methods: Illustrative dialogue and discussion. Results: Observation of practicing physicians, residents in training, and medical students shows that most clinicians use a dominant mode of inquiry when talking with patients: a high-control barrage of closed questions. This approach wastes time, misses critical data, and alienates the patient. A better model, now used at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in teaching students the medical interview, emphasizes 3 components: Inviting a story, Listening effectively, and Summarizing periodically as the story progresses (“ILS”). Such a triad can be used over and over and largely replaces the physician-centered, high-control technique. Conclusion: The ILS technique can be taught, learned, and practiced and results in better data, more efficient use of time, and happier patients and clinicians.


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