Hearts In Healthcare |Practice

Free new App aids patient-centered consultations

A colleague from ‘Compassion for Care’ in the Netherlands is offering a free app to Hearts in Healthcare members.

The MedIntw App is a practical aid for the medical student/intern, specialist-in-training or physician who wants to prepare for a medical interview in less than 15 seconds (in the interview room so to speak). These interview skills are – as much as possible – patient-centered.

You can download the free app for iPhone or Android.

Quick review by Robin Youngson

This deceptively simple app at first glance looks like a brief textbook on patient-centered consultation. It’s based on very sound practices and I found myself quickly agreeing with the recommendations. But as I dug deeper, I realised this is a highly practical tool that you can use in the few seconds before any patient consultation to prompt you on how to deal more skilfully with a range of challenging circumstances: the patient who is over-emotional, demanding or resistant; the patient with psycho-social problems, or who needs to be given bad news; or the patient who might be suicidal. All of the common situations are covered. It’s broken down into very simple steps with practical advice about the approaches that will help, and the hazards to avoid.

In my experience, these simple skills make a huge difference to every consultation and I commend this app for everyday use.

More information about the app

Patient-centered interviewing is a respectful way of communicating in which you adapt to the patient and the situation he is in. As a patient-centered health provider, you try and identify the patient’s perspective. You want to go beyond understanding the patient’s condition, to also understanding his underlying need. You also want to achieve mutual understanding and agreement, share control and responsibility with the patient and encourage the patient’s problem-solving ability and self-efficacy.

How does the App work?

Every chapter opens with a QuickScan which contains a number of tips. The text which comes after the QuickScan more or less follows the order of a typical consultation. You start out by ‘joining’, trying to align yourself with the patient verbally and non-verbally. You finish by bringing the interview to a conclusion. There is an art to doing this well. Each chapter contains examples of what you might say. Such examples have been included by way of inspiration. Try and mix things up a bit; you will probably think of other, better things to say. As long as you mean what you say and remain true to yourself.


The text is based on two Dutch text books by psychiatrist Remke van Staveren, where you can find all references. These books are: Patiëntgericht communiceren. Gids voor de medische praktijk [Patient-centered interviewing. (A guide to medical practice)] (De Tijdstroom, 2010) and Patiëntgericht communiceren in de ggz [Patient-centered interviewing in mental health] (De Tijdstroom, 2013). The English eBook Patient-centered interviewing is in progress.

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