Can I ask you something about your personal life? Sensitive questioning in intercultural doctor-patient interviews

Catherine Bow, Robyn Woodward-Kron, E Flynn, M Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Aims: To identify and analyse critical moments in international medical graduate (IMG) doctor- patient consultations about sexual health, including recognising and responding to patient cues.

Methods: Data were taken from eight video-recordings involving eight IMG doctors interviewing simulated patients in practice Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) workshops. The data were examined using discourse analysis to analyse doctors' responses to patient cues about the (simulated) patient's sexual activity.

Results: The four successful candidates responded to a clearly signalled patient cue, and their interactions followed a six-step pattern to elicit information required to make a diagnosis. The four doctors who pursued a targeted line of enquiry in relation to the patient's cue were able to elicit the necessary information to form a diagnosis and, thus, pass the OSCE station. The doctors who did not pursue this cue failed the station.

Conclusions: Eliciting relevant information in discussion of sexual health requires sophisticated use of language and communication skills. Training should include a focus on noticing and responding to patient cues as well as asking questions that are potentially culturally sensitive.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-77
Number of pages11
JournalFocus on Health Professional Education
Volume15
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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