This paper investigates the association between physicians’ interviewing styles and medical information obtained during simulated patient encounters. The sources of data are audiotapes and transcripts of two standardized patient cases presented by trained patient simulators to 43 primary care practitioners. Transcripts were scored for physician proficiency using expert-generated criteria and were content-analyzed to assess the process of communication and information content. Relevant patient disclosure was also scored from the transcripts based on expert-generated criteria. Findings were: 1) On the whole, physicians elicited only slightly more than 50% of the medical information considered important according to expert consensus, with a range from 9% to 85%. 2) Both open and closed questions were substantially related to patient disclosure of medical information to the physician, but open questions were substantially more so (Pearson correlations of 0.37 and 0.72, respectively). 3) Patient education, particularly information regarding prognosis, cause, and prevention, was substantially related to patient disclosure of medical information to the physician (Pearson correlations of 0.44, 0.36, and 0.34, respectively). 5) Finally, clinical expertise was only weakly associated with patient disclosure of medical information to the physician (Pearson correlation of 0.16).
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Osler W. The master-word in medicine.In: Aequanimitas with other addresses to medical students, nurses, and practitioners of medicine. Philadelphia: Blakiston, 1904;369–71
Enelow AJ, Swisher SN. Interviewing & patient care. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979
Maguire GP, Rutter DR. History-taking for medical students: I—Deficiencies in performance. Lancet 1976;ii:556–8
Platt FW, McMath JC. Clinical hypocompetence: the interview. Ann Intern Med 1979;91:898–902
Beckman HB, Frankel RM. The effect of physician behavior on the collection of data. Ann Intern Med 1984;101:692–6
Barsky AJ. Hidden reasons some patients visit doctors. Ann Intern Med 1981;94:492–8
Roth JA. Information and the control of treatment in tuberculosis hospitals. In: Freidson E (ed). The Hospital in Modern Society. London: Free Press of Glencoe, 1968
Waitzkin H. Information giving in medical care. J Health Soc Behav 1985;26:81–101
Wang V, Terry P, Flynn B, Williamson J, Green L, Faden R. Evaluation of continuing medical education for chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. J Med Educ 1979;54:803–11
Terry PB, Wang VL, Flynn BS, et al. A continuing medical education program in chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases: design and outcome. Am Rev Resp Dis 1981;123:42–6
Hall JA, Roter DL, Katz NR. Task versus socioemotional behaviors in physicians. Med Care 1987;25:399–412
Roter DL, Hall JA, Katz NR. Relations between physicians’ behaviors and analogue patients’ satisfaction, recall, and impressions. Med Care 1987;25:435–51
Roter D. Patient participation in the patient—provider interaction: the effects of patient question-asking on the quality of interaction, satisfaction, and compliance. Health Educ Monog 1977;5:281–315
Stillman PL, Sabers DL, Redfield DL. Use of trained mother to teach interviewing skills to first-year medical students: a follow-up study. Pediatrics 1977;60:165–9
Goldberg D, Steele J, Smith C, Spivey L. Training family practice residents to recognize psychiatric disturbances. Rockville, MD: National Institute of Mental Health, 1983
Stoeckle JD, Barsky AJ. Attributions: uses of social science knowledge in the “doctoring” of primary care. In: Eisenberg L, Kleinman A (eds). The relevance of social science for medicine. New York: Reidel Publishing Co., 1980;223–40
Good BJ, Good MD. The meaning of symptoms: a cultural hermeneutic model for clinical practice. In: Eisenberg L, Kleinman A (eds). The relevance of social sciences for medicine. New York: Reidel Publishing Co., 1980;165–96
Helfer RE, Black MA, Teitelbaum H. A comparison of pediatric interviewing skills using real and simulated mothers. Pediatrics 1975;55:397–400
Supported by NIMH grant R01 MH38037.
About this article
Cite this article
Roter, D.L., Hall, J.A. Physicians’ interviewing styles and medical information obtained from patients. J Gen Intern Med 2, 325–329 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02596168