What Doctors are Thinking

Underwriters take note and read the entire article, especially the section on pattern recognition.

Musings of a Dinosaur

Ever wonder what your doctor is thinking while taking your history? If we’re doing it right, we’re looking at you instead of a computer. We’re making appropriate eye contact while displaying welcoming body language. And we’re letting you tell your story with as few interruptions as possible. Clearly we are listening intently, but did you ever wonder what’s going through our minds while you’re speaking?

I’ve been thinking about this lately in the context of teaching medical students about history-taking. They’re being taught all the right questions to ask and how to ask them (body language, open-ended, etc) but it often seems like they don’t know what they’re supposed to be listening for, or how to elicit the kind of information that will let them make a diagnosis (which is, of course, the necessary prerequisite for appropriate treatment.)

So here’s an analogy to try and help both patients and learners…

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