Training primary care clinicians in motivational interviewing: a comparison of two models

Patient Educ Couns. 2015 Jan;98(1):61-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2014.10.007. Epub 2014 Oct 17.


Objectives: To evaluate implementing two training models for motivational interviewing (MI) to address tobacco use with primary care clinicians.

Methods: Clinicians were randomized to moderate or high intensity. Both training modalities included a single ½ day workshop facilitated by MI expert trainers. The high intensity (HI) training provided six booster sessions including telephone interactions with simulated patients and peer coaching by MI champions over 3 months. To assess performance of clinicians to deliver MI, an objective structured clinical evaluation (OSCE) was conducted before and 12 weeks after the workshop training.

Results: Thirty-four clinicians were enrolled; 18 were randomly assigned to HI. Compared to the moderate intensity group, the HI group scored significantly higher during the OSCE for three of six global Motivational Interviewing Treatment Integrity scale scores. There was also significant improvement for three of the four measures of MI counseling knowledge, skills and confidence.

Conclusions: Using champions and telephone interactions with simulated patients as enhancement strategies for MI training programs is feasible in the primary care setting and results in greater gains in MI proficiency.

Practice implications: Results confirm and expand evidence for use of booster sessions to improve the proficiency of MI training programs for primary care clinicians.

Keywords: Motivational interviewing; Primary care; Provider training; Tobacco cessation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Colorado
  • Counseling / education
  • Education, Medical, Continuing / methods*
  • Educational Measurement / methods*
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / education*
  • Hospitals, Veterans
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minnesota
  • Motivational Interviewing / methods*
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology
  • Telephone