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Medical Writings |

“What Else?” Setting the Agenda for the Clinical Interview

Laurence H. Baker, PhD; Daniel O'Connell, PhD; and Frederic W. Platt, MD
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

From the Institute for Health Care Communication and Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, OR 97212; the Institute for Health Care Communication and University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA 98119; and the Institute for Health Care Communication and University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, CO 80205.

Acknowledgments: The authors acknowledge the input of several thousand physicians and other clinician-participants in Institute for Healthcare Communication workshops from 1990 through 2005.

Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: Consultancies: L.H. Baker (Institute for Healthcare Communication); D. O'Connell (Institute for Healthcare Communication); F.W. Platt (Institute for Healthcare Communication); Royalties: F.W. Platt (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins).

Requests for Single Reprints: Frederic W. Platt, MD, 1901 East 20th Avenue, Denver, CO 80205; e-mail, Frederic.Platt@uchsc.edu.

Current Author Addresses: Dr. Baker: 929 NE Brazee Street, Portland, OR 91212.

Dr. O'Connell: 1816 1st Avenue West, Seattle, WA 98119.

Dr. Platt: 1901 East 20th Avenue, Denver, CO 80205.

Ann Intern Med. 2005;143(10):766-770. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-143-10-200511150-00033
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More What Else?
Posted on December 2, 2005
Paul R Minton
Senior Friendship Centers
Conflict of Interest: None Declared

Drs. Baker, O'Connell and Platt presented an articulate, valuable and enjoyable analysis of a major problem we physicians face in meeting the needs of our patients. Early in my forty years of cardiology and internal medicine practice I learned to avoid another "doorknob" question which added significant time to the visit. Before I start any significant discussion with the patient about the diagnosis and the testing and treatment recommendations I ask:

"Is there anyone with you today who you want to hear our discussion?"

This question evolved after many instances of having to repeat my detailed discussion in response to:

"Doctor, can my wife/husband/parent/daughter/son/etc. come in now and would you tell them what you just told me?"

This paper should be required reading for medical students and graduate physicians in training.

Conflict of Interest:

None declared

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