American Journal of Educational Research
ISSN (Print): 2327-6126 ISSN (Online): 2327-6150 Website: Editor-in-chief: Ratko Pavlović
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American Journal of Educational Research. 2016, 4(3), 227-233
DOI: 10.12691/education-4-3-2
Open AccessReview Article

Teaching Medical Students History Taking Content: A Systematic Review

H Alyami1, , B Su'a1, F Sundram2, M Alyami3, MP Lyndon4, TC Yu5, MA Henning5 and AG Hill1

1South Auckland Clinical Campus, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

2Department of Psychological Medicine, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

3School of Psychology, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand

4Ko Awatea – Counties Manukau District Health Board, Auckland, New Zealand

5Centre of Medical and Health Sciences Education, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Pub. Date: March 12, 2016

Cite this paper:
H Alyami, B Su'a, F Sundram, M Alyami, MP Lyndon, TC Yu, MA Henning and AG Hill. Teaching Medical Students History Taking Content: A Systematic Review. American Journal of Educational Research. 2016; 4(3):227-233. doi: 10.12691/education-4-3-2


Context: The medical interview is a cornerstone of clinical practice. Teaching medical students how to take a history can be broadly divided into two components: teaching the process of history taking and teaching the content of history taking. While there is a growing awareness of how history taking processes can be taught, effective history taking content teaching methods remain unclear. Objectives: To identify educational interventions targeting history taking content and how they have improved medical students’ performance. Methods: A literature search in Medline, PsycINFO, Embase and ERIC was performed independently by two authors encompassing 1980 to 2015. Only studies focusing on improving undergraduate medical student history taking content were included. Results: Six articles were included: four Randomized Controlled Trials and two Quasi-Experimental studies. All interventions were additional to traditional teaching methods. Two studies investigated the use of online video demonstrations while two other studies examined the use of computer and mannequin-based human patient simulations. One study investigated the use of a virtual clinic platform while the last study used a written structured history taking pro forma. Outcome measures included: Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE), Standardized Patient Encounters, written tests and case histories. Overall, five of the six studies showed a positive impact on medical student performance. Conclusions: Most studies in this review showed a positive impact on student performance via objective assessments. While the majority utilized electronic learning methods, there are very limited studies focusing on educational interventions targeting history taking content.

history taking medical interview clinical skills medical encounter

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