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Effective TB Interviewing for Contact Investigation: Self-Study Modules

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The TB Interview

The TB interview for contact investigation is one of the most important components of a TB control program. As a result of TB interviews, individuals with latent TB infection, active and future TB cases, and source cases of TB disease can be identified and medically evaluated.

The TB interview is an interaction with an index patient or a person with suspected or confirmed TB disease who is the initial case reported to the health department. The index patient might not be the source case. The interview interaction involves the basic principles of effective communication and mutual information exchange. The goal of the interview is to elicit information on contacts for contact investigation purposes. This process requires practice and a commitment to realizing the interview goal while respecting the patient’s need for confidentiality and understanding the importance of his or her role in the contact investigation.

TB interviewing entails a partnership between the index patient and the interviewer. Information is shared and exchanged. The TB interview offers an opportunity for investigators to

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

Format of the Self-Study Modules for Effective TB interviewing

This resource will offer guidance to both new and experienced TB interviewers about how to communicate clearly with patients under various circumstances. The self-study format offers a self-paced framework for healthcare workers to follow to learn how to conduct TB interviews. Effective TB Interviewing for Contact Investigation: Self-Study Modules describe the steps and information to be conveyed to the patient during the interview, including what the patient should expect after the interview process is completed.

The modules in this resource include:

1The TB Interview for Contact Investigation
2Basics of Communication and Patient Education
3Cultural Competency in TB Interviewing
4Special Interview Circumstances

Each module will begin with a list of learning objectives and will end with review questions. Case presentations are included throughout the modules to illustrate important concepts.


Prior to reading these materials, it is recommended that one read the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Self-Study Modules on Tuberculosis, Modules 1-9, which provide essential clinical and TB control information. If there is not adequate time to complete this prerequisite, at a minimum, Module 3, Transmission and Pathogenesis, Module 6, Contact Investigation, and Module 7, Confidentiality, should be read. In addition, the Core Curriculum on Tuberculosis is also a valuable resource for participants.

Using this Resource

Although this resource is most useful when read in its entirety, Modules 1 and 2 should be read in consecutive order before other modules are read. Modules 3 and 4 may be read independently if each of the individual module’s content needs to be referred to or reviewed.

Although this material is presented in a self-study format, a supervisor should review each module’s concepts and answer any questions the reader may have. For those without the benefit of a personalized review, the questions at the end of this manual are accompanied by detailed explanations. In addition, a supervisor should also review health department protocols and relevant forms for contact investigation and patient interviewing.

Additional TB Interviewing Training and Resources

In addition to reading these self-study materials, viewing the Effective TB Interviewing for Contact Investigation DVD and participating in a facilitator-led group training on TB interviewing is highly recommended. The video and facilitator-led training manual are both available from CDC. A list of additional resources is included at the end of these modules.

New interviewers should also supplement their learning by observing experienced colleagues conducting interviews in a variety of settings. Engaging in role-playing scenarios prior to conducting actual patient interviews can also provide an opportunity for reviewing interview techniques and experiencing various interview scenarios.

This resource is not meant to substitute for the learning gained from observation of experienced interviewers and, of course, from conducting actual interviews. However, understanding the fundamental concepts in Effective TB Interviewing for Contact Investigations: Self-Study Modules can help the interviewer become successful in the art of TB interviewing.

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  • Page last reviewed: September 1, 2012
  • Page last updated: July 7, 2011 The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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