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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Self-Study Modules for Effective TB Interviewing

Module 1. The TB Interview for Contact Investigation

After reading through this module, you will be able to

  • Define a TB interview;
  • Formulate a TB interview strategy;
  • Identify who requires a TB interview and for what reasons;
  • Prioritize TB interviews based on various factors;
  • Determine an infectious period for contact identification;
  • Conduct a TB interview in a logical and productive manner; and
  • Conduct a re-interview asking the appropriate follow-up questions.

An interview is a formal, individualized exchange of information.  The TB interview is an interaction with a patient that involves the basic principles of effective communication and patient education.  The objectives of the TB interview are to

  • Build trust and rapport with the patient;
  • Provide TB education;
  • Engage the patient in the contact investigation process;
  • Identify priority contacts; and
  • Address patients’ questions and concerns.

The interview requires skills, commitment to the interview objectives, respect for the patient’s need for confidentiality, and understanding of the patient’s role in the contact investigation process.

Interview Strategy
To formulate a strategy prior to an interview, the interviewer should

  • Understand the purpose of the interview and what should be accomplished;
  • Analyze the interview situation by asking:
  • Where will the interview take place?
  • What is the condition (mental and physical state) of the interviewee?
  • Is there already an established relationship with the interviewee?
  • Anticipate and prepare to deal with resistance.

To meet the interview objectives, the interviewer’s strategy should include methods for

  • Building trust and rapport with the patient;
  • Collecting the patient’s personal and medical information and asking for verification, clarification, and additional information;
  • Determining what information the patient understands and his or her level of comprehension prior to providing education;
  • Continuously clarifying information given verbally or messages conveyed through verbal and nonverbal cues;
  • Reinforcing the health and medical regimen during discussion; and
  • Promoting a dialogue by intermittently allowing time for patient questions.

Completing these tasks does not occur simply by asking standard questions, but by asking questions purposefully and in an understandable and sensitive manner.  Module 2, “Basics of Communication and Patient Education,” will address the skills of asking questions and assessing patients for a tailored discussion.


Released October 2008
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Division of Tuberculosis Elimination -

Please send comments/suggestions/requests to:, or to
CDC/Division of Tuberculosis Elimination
Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch
1600 Clifton Rd., NE - Mailstop E-10, Atlanta, GA 30333