Patient perspectives on communication with the medical team: pilot study using the Communication Assessment Tool-Team (CAT-T).

Journal Article (Journal Article)

OBJECTIVE: Effective communication is an essential aspect of high-quality patient care and a core competency for physicians. To date, assessment of communication skills in team-based settings has not been well established. We sought to tailor a psychometrically validated instrument, the Communication Assessment Tool, for use in Team settings (CAT-T), and test the feasibility of collecting patient perspectives of communication with medical teams in the emergency department (ED). METHODS: A prospective, cross-sectional study in an academic, tertiary, urban, Level 1 trauma center using the CAT-T, a 15-item instrument. Items were answered via a 5-point scale, with 5 = excellent. All adult ED patients (> or = 18 y/o) were eligible if the following exclusion criteria did not apply: primary psychiatric issues, critically ill, physiologically unstable, non-English speaking, or under arrest. RESULTS: 81 patients were enrolled (mean age: 44, S.D. = 17; 44% male). Highest ratings were for treating the patient with respect (69% excellent), paying attention to the patient (69% excellent), and showing care and concern (69% excellent). Lowest ratings were for greeting the patient appropriately (54%), encouraging the patient to ask questions (54%), showing interest in the patient's ideas about his or her health (53% excellent), and involving the patient in decisions as much as he or she wanted (53% excellent). CONCLUSION: Although this pilot study has several methodological limitations, it demonstrates a signal that patient assessment of communication with the medical team is feasible and offers important feedback. Results indicate the need to improve communication in the ED. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: In the ED, focusing on the medical team rather then individual caregivers may more accurately reflect patients' experience.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mercer, LM; Tanabe, P; Pang, PS; Gisondi, MA; Courtney, DM; Engel, KG; Donlan, SM; Adams, JG; Makoul, G

Published Date

  • November 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 73 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 220 - 223

PubMed ID

  • 18703306

Pubmed Central ID

  • 18703306

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-5134

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0738-3991

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.pec.2008.07.003


  • eng