Taking a Great Medical Legal History

12 June 2012 / Medical History / Comments Off on Taking a Great Medical Legal History

Phil Walker, Esq.

Doctors: Ask questions using language that is easy for patients to understand.

There is an excellent medical manual called DeGowin & DeGowin's Bedside Diagnostic Examination. In this book, there is a fascinating bit of trivia I think about when interviewing applicants. The book states that the average adult has about 100,000 words in their vocabulary. After medical school, the vocabulary triples to 300,000. This increased vocabulary actually becomes a handicap because it places distance and increases the chances of miscommunication between the doctor and the applicant.

The applicant may not feel comfortable asking the physician to re-state the question, or explain certain words they do not understand. The result here is two very negative consequences.

The first consequence is incorrect answers, which means an incorrect history. The second consequence is an applicant that is embarrassed and leaves the interview feeling they were not able to tell their story.

Think carefully about the language you choose.

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