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Patient Educ Couns. 2006 Mar;60(3):279-85. Epub 2006 Jan 23.

Physicians' opening questions and patients' satisfaction.

Author information

  • 1Rutgers University, Department of Communication, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1071, USA. jrob@scils.rutgers.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the association between the format of physicians' opening questions that solicit patients' presenting concerns and patients' post-visit evaluations of (i.e., satisfaction with) the affective-relational dimension of physicians' communication.

METHODS:

Videotape and questionnaire data were collected from visits between 28 primary-care physicians and 142 adult patients with acute problems. Factor analysis resulted in three dependent variables derived from the 9-item Socioemotional Behavior subscale of the Medical Interview Satisfaction Scale.

RESULTS:

Question format was significantly, positively associated with patients' evaluations of physicians' listening (p=.028) and positive affective-relational communication (p=.046).

CONCLUSION:

Patients desire opportunities to present concerns in their own time and terms regardless of how extensively they act on this opportunity.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS:

Visits should be opened with general inquiries (e.g., What can I do for you today?) versus closed-ended requests for confirmation (e.g., Sore throat, huh?).

PMID:
16431070
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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