Patient exposition and physician explanation in initial medical interviews and outcomes of clinic visits.
To replicate an earlier study and explore associations between verbal behaviors in patient-physician interactions and outcomes of care, 102 visits to a medicine walk-in clinic were tape-recorded, transcribed, and coded according to the Verbal Response Mode (VRM) system. Questionnaires given before and after the clinic visit and telephone interviews 1 week and 4 weeks after the visit were used to measure patient satisfaction, compliance, and change in symptoms. Data were collected on patients' sociodemographic characteristics, illness characteristics, and health beliefs. Two verbal exchanges were examined: in the medical history, the Patient Exposition exchange, which was measured as the frequency with which patients make statements about their illnesses in their own words; and in the conclusion, the Physician Explanation exchange, which was measured as the percentage of physician statements that are factual. These verbal indexes showed correlations with patient satisfaction, thus replicating the earlier study, but no significant correlations with compliance. Analysis of variance showed that the association between verbal exchanges and patient satisfaction remained after controlling for physician differences and for patient age, education, and belief in the controllability of the illness.
Putnam, SM; Stiles, WB; Jacob, MC; James, SA
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