Barriers to Collecting a Health History

Table of Contents


A competent healthcare specialist cannot succeed in therapeutic care unless he or she is capable of collecting a sufficient amount of reliable information about the health history of a patient. Since the obtaining of the data about prior health issues of an individual is essential, it is vital to utilize appropriate tools to ensure unbiased information collecting.

A multicultural society requires specific approaches to health care in general, and to retrieving of health history in particular, due to the specific cultural features of ethnic minorities that have to be taken into account when provided with medical services. It is essential to utilize relevant tools for health history collecting to overcome all barriers and provide culture-competent care.

Barriers to Collecting

On the one hand, the lack of time and resources are regarded as general barriers to information collecting. On the other hand, the knowledge of ethnic features of the patients coming from a variety of cultural backgrounds is a challenge for a medical professional. Culture-specific particularities are significant barriers for a physician collecting a health history. An attempt to provide equal service to all patients even when employing a patient-centered approach could fail due to the need for a culture-centered attitude (Guevas, O’Brien, & Saha, 2017). The ethical dilemma consisting of the choice between equal care and culture-specific one becomes a problem and needs to be resolved.

The personality-specific compatibility of a patient and a health care specialist constitutes another obstacle. The lack of trust due to the emotional and psychological discomfort a patient might experience because of illness is one of the main barriers to collecting health history (George, Avila, Speranger, Bailey, & Silvers, 2018). It is a clinician’s priority to establish trustworthy relationships with a patient to elicit honest, objective facts about his or her health condition in the past. A comfortable atmosphere and the clinician’s caring attention toward a patient are key elements in successful communication aimed at health-related information disclosure.

In my opinion, the most significant barrier to health-related information collecting is the necessity to deliver the importance of such data for the patient’s well-being. Often, a patient feels reluctant to disclose personal background connected with the experienced symptoms due to the discomfort of face-to-face conversation or lack of trust in the specialist. It is difficult to find a specific individual approach to a patient to explain the purpose of a health history record.

It takes time and communication skills to succeed in this intervention. Moreover, the work with ethnic minorities imposes even more challenges to individual approach searches due to the possible discrimination claims. To provide culture-competent care, one should formulate his or her discourse according to the specific features and evidence-based predispositions of a patient as a representative of a particular ethnic minority (Jarvis, 2015). However, people perceive such approaches differently, often claiming that their rights have been discriminated against and the specialist provided a biased service.


In conclusion, collecting health history is an essential procedure contributing to the success of any medical intervention. Nevertheless, clinicians experience various barriers to retrieving the information from patients due to such obstacles as the lack of time, resources, or trust to a health care specialist, as well as the approaches to addressing the culture-specific features. A medical specialist has not only to be competent in his or her field but also to employ specific tools and communication techniques to ensure trustworthy relationships with each patient.


Jarvis, C. (2015). Physical examination and health assessment (7th ed.). St. Louis, MI: Elsevier Health Sciences.

George, M., Avila, M., Speranger, T., Bailey, H. K., & Silvers, W. S. (2018). Conducting an integrative health interview. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, 6(2), 436-439.

Guevas, A. G., O’Brien, K., & Saha, S. (2017). What is the key to culturally competent care: Reducing bias or cultural tailoring? Psychology and Health, 32(4), 493-507.

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