Closing the Medical Interview: Enhancing Patient Engagement and Accuracy

Apr 3, 2024 | AMA Guides, Family History, Medical Interview

Closing the Medical Interview: Enhancing Patient Engagement and Accuracy

by AMA Guides

In the realm of medical practice, the conclusion of a patient interview is a critical juncture that necessitates thoughtful consideration. As medical professionals, our primary goal is not only to diagnose and treat but also to foster an environment of trust and open communication. This blog aims to elucidate the significance of closing the medical interview with grace and professionalism, ensuring that our patients feel heard, respected, and valued throughout their healthcare journey.

The Importance of a Patient-Centric Approach

The medical interview serves as the cornerstone of patient care, offering a unique opportunity to delve into the patient’s concerns, symptoms, and experiences. It is during this time that a physician can truly connect with the patient, establishing a rapport that is pivotal for effective treatment and care. However, the manner in which we conclude these interviews can significantly impact the patient’s perception of the care they receive and their overall satisfaction.

Asking the Critical Question

Before bringing the interview to a close, it is imperative to ask the patient if there is anything else they would like to discuss. This simple yet profound question accomplishes several important objectives:

  1. Ensures Comprehensive Care: It provides the patient with the opportunity to voice any additional concerns or symptoms that may not have been addressed during the initial part of the interview.
  2. Fosters Open Communication: By inviting further discussion, we demonstrate our commitment to listening and responding to the patient’s needs, thereby strengthening the physician-patient relationship.
  3. Empowers the Patient: This approach acknowledges the patient’s role in their own healthcare, empowering them to take an active part in the decision-making process.

The Value of Expressing Gratitude

Expressing gratitude towards the patient for their cooperation and openness during the interview is another key aspect of a dignified closure. A simple thank you can convey respect and appreciation, making the patient feel valued and respected. This gesture not only enhances the patient’s experience but also contributes to a positive healthcare environment.

Dictating Histories in the Presence of the Patient

An innovative practice that some physicians have found beneficial is dictating the patient’s history in their presence immediately following the interview. This method serves multiple purposes:

  1. Accuracy Verification: By dictating the history in front of the patient, any inaccuracies or misunderstandings can be promptly corrected, ensuring that the medical record accurately reflects the patient’s condition and concerns.
  2. Issue Clarification: It allows for immediate clarification of any issues or details that may be unclear, providing an additional layer of thoroughness to the patient’s care.
  3. Patient Involvement: This process actively involves the patient in their care, reinforcing the collaborative nature of the physician-patient relationship.


Closing the medical interview with thoughtful consideration is a vital component of patient care that extends beyond mere protocol. It embodies the essence of patient-centered medicine, where open communication, respect, and collaboration are paramount. By asking if there is anything else the patient wishes to discuss, expressing gratitude for their participation, and involving them in the dictation of their medical history, we can enhance patient engagement, ensure accuracy, and foster a healthcare environment that respects and values the patient’s voice.

As medical professionals, let us strive to implement these practices in our interactions, recognizing that the manner in which we conclude our interviews can significantly impact our patients’ healthcare experience and outcomes. Through such efforts, we can continue to uphold the highest standards of care and compassion in the medical field.

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