The art of history taking

Miscommunication often occurs not because you didn't ask the right question but by HOW your asked it

see also The Unreliable historian

A word about patients (a cynical perspective)

They may give a misleading answer when:

Golden rules of history taking

Problems with style

Problems with language

Problems with interpretation

Problems with reliability

Useful phrases


A constant frustration and embarrassment to doctors is when the patient reveals a completely different story to a colleague or superior

You should be reassure that there are good reasons for this other than just poor history-taking technique:

Sometimes it is worth clarifying some points a little later after the patient has had time to 'digest' the questions.