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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Donald R. Frey, MD (Creighton University Medical Center)
Description: This concise paperback is an evidence-based approach to the patient interviewing process. Drawing heavily from studies in the interviewing literature, the work is an update of the 1996 first edition.
Purpose: The book seeks to present the basic skills and approaches needed for effective and efficient patient interviewing. Given the increasing reliance on invasive testing and medical interviewing to the exclusion of sound history taking, such a book is sorely needed. This work fills the niche well.
Audience: The book is aimed at medical student and resident learners of all levels. In fact, all clinicians for whom taking medical histories is important (and this should be all of us) will find the book to be a useful review. The author is a distinguished professor of both medicine and psychiatry.
Features: The book analyses the interviewing process from both the patient and clinician standpoint. Symptom defining skills are emphasized, and short, easy to follow vignettes are used to illustrate the book's interviewing approach. A "learning exercise" section, written in a question-and-answer format, follows each chapter and helps summarize the elements of each section. Finally, the section on patient education is particularly helpful in weaving education issues into the medical interview.
Assessment: This manual has the capacity to serve both as a teaching tool for students learning the arduous task of medical interviewing, and as a quick review for the busy practitioner seeking ways to more efficiently deal with difficult patients and multi-problem patients. The book's practical approach and readable manner will be appreciated especially by those clinicians who usually shy away from books with a psychological bent.