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Medical Writings |

“Tell Me about Yourself”: The Patient-Centered Interview

Frederic W. Platt, MD; David L. Gaspar, MD; John L. Coulehan, MD, MPH; Lucy Fox, MD; Andrew J. Adler, MD; W. Wayne Weston, MD; Robert C. Smith, MD; and Moira Stewart, PhD
[+] Article and Author Information

University of Colorado; Denver, CO 80205 (Platt, Gaspar) State University of New York at Stony Brook; Stony Brook, NY 11794 (Coulehan) Renal Medical Associates Ltd.; Albuquerque, NM 97106 (Fox) Brooklyn Veterans Affairs Medical Center; Brooklyn, NY 11209 (Adler) University of Western Ontario; London, Ontario NGK 1C7, Canada (Weston) Michigan State University School of Medicine; East Lansing, MI 48824 (Smith) Centre for Studies in Family Medicine; London, Ontario N6G 4X8, Canada (Stewart)


Acknowledgments: The observations that doctors lack words came out of work by many of the 550 faculty to the Bayer Institute for Health Care Communication. Drs. Platt, Fox, Adler, and Weston are among these faculty. Support for attempts to explicate such words came from the publications committee of the American Academy on Physician and Patient (AAPP). Drs. Platt, Coulehan, Smith, and Stewart are members of AAPP.

Requests for Single Reprints: Frederic W. Platt, MD, University of Colorado, 1901 East 20th Avenue, Denver, CO 80205.

Current Author Addresses: Dr. Platt: University of Colorado, 1901 East 20th Avenue, Denver, CO 80205.

Dr. Gaspar: University of Colorado, 9200 East Ninth Avenue, Denver, CO 80262.

Dr. Coulehan: State University of New York at Stony Brook, HSC-L3086, Stony Brook, NY 11794-8036.

Dr. Fox: Renal Medical Associates Ltd., 201 Cedar Street #800, Albuquerque, NM 87106.

Dr. Adler: New York Harbor Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 800 Poly Place, Brooklyn, NY 11209.

Dr. Weston: University of Western Ontario, 1228 Commissioner's Road West, London, Ontario NGK 1C7, Canada.

Dr. Smith: Michigan State University School of Medicine, B306 Clinical Center, 138 Service Road, East Lansing, MI 48824

Dr. Stewart: Centre for Studies in Family Medicine, 100 Collip Circle #245, London, Ontario N6G 4X8, Canada.


Ann Intern Med. 2001;134(11):1079-1085. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-134-11-200106050-00020
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The following article initiates a series on “Words That Make a Difference.” Developed under the sponsorship of the American Academy on Physician and Patient, the series will focus on the language physicians use when they talk with patients. Although clinicians understand how important it is to communicate effectively with patients, they often have difficulty knowing exactly what the “best words” are for making the most of each patient interaction. Drawing on careful observation and research results, the authors of this series of articles have identified words and expressions that have proven particularly powerful as tools for understanding patients and helping them manage their illnesses effectively. We are interested in knowing what readers think of the series, and in learning about other uses of language that readers have found important and helpful.

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