Interviewing to obtain a health history

It is not a secret that it is challenging to obtain health history from elderly patients because of their long health history, and sometimes because of their memory gaps. Most of patients can easily miss a few important facts to mention in face to face interview.   It is more severe in elderly patients’ case and it takes a lot more time to collect their health histories.

A physician friend of mine mentioned that she started using her own version of medical history taking form on her office web site before a face to face interview to save interview time.  It is safe on online for privacy because they only use their own medical number which was given when the patient make an initial appointment. I remember when I had a doubt about on line job application because of privacy issues when I first learned about it.  Now days, it became a standard procedure for job search.

She also started using voice interview for elderly patients who cannot see well or who may not have a computer access by sending out a small recording device with small deposit.  Even though she recognize that this is not the perfect system, but she said she is saving at least 20-30% of time for assessment so far.

No doubt, this may not be effective in certain communities since most of older population is not familiar with computers or machines, but it is workable in the big city, especially big college town where this friend has office at.

I think it’s crucial to think about the economic and effective ways of interviewing or treating patients as a medical professional.  Because those saved resources can go to other patients.

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