Communication/Interviewing Skills


Silverman, J., Kurtz, S. & Draper, J. (2005). Skills for communicating with patients, 2nd ed. Oxford: Radcliffe Publishing.
The authors take an evidence-based approach, with a thorough review of research on communication skills, and outline core communication skills to enhance the efficacy of the patient encounter. The skills are designed to assist physicians in managing interviews in an efficient manner that leaves both the patient and the practitioner feeling gratified.

Stuart, M.R. & Lieberman, J. A. (2008). The fifteen minute hour: Therapeutic talk in primary care, 4th ed. New York: Radcliffe Publishing.
This book is a classic that describes practical ways to integrate a holistic approach into the primary care setting. The authors describe a framework and skills for physicians to assist patients with behavioral/emotional concerns that impact physical well-being within the context of a brief medical visit.



Churchill, L. R. & Schenck, D. (2008). Healing skills for medical practice. Ann Intern Med. 149(10), 720-4.
This article describes an empirical approach that was undertaken to identify a core set of healing skills in physician patient relationships. Eight essential skills were identified: “do the little things; take time; be open and listen; find something to like, to love; remove barriers; let the patient explain; share authority; and be committed.”

Lin, C., Platt, F., Hardee, J., Boyle, D., Bennett, L., & Dwinnell, B. (2005). The medical inquiry: Invite, listen, summarize. JCOM. 12 (8), 415-18.
The article describes a patient centered model to teach medical interviewing that is based on 3 primary elements: Inviting a story, Listening effectively, and Summarizing (ILS).

Mauksch, L. B., Dugdale, D. C., Dodson, S., & Epstein, R. (2008). Relationship, communication, and efficiency in the medical encounter: Creating a clinical model from a literature review. Arch Intern Med. 168(13), 1387-95.

This review examined nine studies on physician-patient communication to identify communication skills that enhance efficiency in the medical encounter. The authors identify 3 domains that enhanced efficiency: "rapport building, up-front agenda setting, and acknowledging social or emotional clues." The authors discuss how these skills can be integrated into efficient and effective clinical encounters.

Online Resources

Communications and Doctoring Curriculum Resource
" is a communications / doctoring curriculum resource that enhances learning beyond textbooks.’s 41 Modules cover interactional competencies that IOM, ACGME and AAMC consider essential. More than 400 videos show physicians and standardized patients demonstrating effective communication strategies. Content also covers psychosocial issues such as Alcoholism, Domestic Violence, Depression, Behavior Change and Somatization, and professionalism issues such as Mistakes, Boundaries, Mindfulness, Teamwork, Self-care."

Ready to Use Doctor-Patient Communication Didactic Curriculum (Yvonne Murphy)
"These slides are an introduction and overview of a fully developed curriculum to teach doctor-patient communication skills which includes 16 one hour modules. The entire curriculum is available upon request. The topics include delivering bad news, advance directives/end of life care, chronic pain, sexual history, terminating the doctor-patient relationship, health behavior change/motivational interviewing, angry patients, language barriers/cultural competency, discussing medical errors, shared decision making, increasing adherence, empathy, family meetings, communicating while using EMR, and patient satisfaction and malpractice risk."

Improving Communication Assessment: A Web Training Module
This training site is designed to begin training of students, residents, faculty or practicing physicians in use of the Patient Centered Observation Form (PCOF), a communication and relationship assessment tool. Here you can download the Patient Centered Observation Form, practice using it while watching two video simulations of a physician-patient encounter, and then compare your ratings to "experts" ratings.