Introduction to Health History Interviewing for the Dental Student

Publication ID Published Volume
9049 December 5, 2011 7


This Learning Module provides introductory health history interviewing techniques and strategies to students who have no prior interviewing training. Topics included in this Learning Module include the following: predictability; controllability; washing one’s hands; showing patients where to put their belongings looking at one’s patient while interacting with him or her; phrasing questions to conduct an efficient interview; the different components of a medical interview and their sequence; greet patients in the waiting room; and bringing patients back to the operatory. One unit introduces Standardized Patients and explains how to work with them.

This tutorial uses e-learning concepts to familiarize students with a “soft” area of their education, i.e. the basics of medical interviewing, such as taking a medical history, showing empathy and handling patients with anxiety as well as with the logistics of the SP encounter (how to give feedback to peers, etc.). Anecdotal evidence gathered from the faculty facilitators indicated that students who used the e-learning module in preparation performed significantly better than students who used a textbook. A research paper is in preparation for this educational experiment.


Spallek H, Polk D, Becker K, O'Donnell J, Horvath Z. Introduction to health history interviewing for the dental student. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2011;7:9049.

Educational Objectives

To be able to apply basic interviewing skills in a health history interview with a patient.


  • Interviewing Strategies, Interview Techniques

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ISSN 2374-8265