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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Self-Study Modules for Effective TB Interviewing

Patient Education During the TB Interview

The main objective of the TB interview is to identify the correct priority contacts as quickly as possible.† This can be done more easily if patient education covers the following points:

  • How TB is transmitted
  • The difference between TB infection and disease
  • TB disease can be prevented by treating those with latent TB infection
  • TB is curable
  • The importance and purpose of contact investigation
  • Contacts are at great risk for infection and disease
  • Potential consequences of not initiating TB treatment
  • The patient could have been prevented from getting TB if the person who infected him/her had given his or her name as a contact
  • Contacts will not be told by the health department who identified them
  • Confidentiality will be maintained by the interviewer and the health department
  • A public health worker will be available to the patient to address any questions or concerns throughout the contact investigation process
  • Role, responsibility, and authority of the health department to protect the publicís health

Patient education is best provided through effective communication techniques, which take into consideration how to best convey messages to the patient and receive feedback on how these messages are understood.Interviewers should continually encourage the patient to express any concerns and ask questions.† This enhances the interviewer-patient partnership.

Effective Communication

Communication is the exchange of information by words, symbols, signs, or actions.† It is an interactive process, which involves feedback.† Communication revolves around asking questions, listening actively, understanding a patientís concerns or needs, and demonstrating a caring attitude, while helping to solve problems.† Communication begins when the interviewer first sees the patient, addresses the patient by name, and sits down to talk. Effective communication continues as the healthcare worker makes eye contact, speaks in a respectful tone of voice, and encourages the patient to ask questions.


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