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Patient Educ Couns. 2009 Dec;77(3):437-42. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2009.09.006. Epub 2009 Oct 9.

Patient-centered communication and prognosis discussions with cancer patients.

Author information

  • 1Child Development and Family Studies Department (Marriage and Family Therapy Program), Purdue University, Fowler Memorial House, 1200 W. State Street, W. Lafayette, IN 47907, USA. cgshields@purdue.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine physician communication associated with prognosis discussion with cancer patients.

METHODS:

We conducted a study of physician-patient communication using trained actors. Thirty-nine physicians, including 19 oncologists and 20 family physicians participated in the study. Actors carried two hidden digital recorders to unannounced visits. We coded recordings for eliciting and validating patient concerns, attentive voice tone, and prognosis talk.

RESULTS:

Actor adherence to role averaged 92% and the suspected detection rate was 14%. In a multiple regression, eliciting and validating patient concerns (beta=.40, C.I.=0.11-0.68) attentiveness (beta=.32, C.I.=0.06-0.58) and being an oncologist vs. a family physician (beta=.33, C.I.=0.33-1.36) accounted for 46% of the variance in prognosis communication.

CONCLUSION:

Eliciting and validating patient concerns and attentiveness voice tone is associated with increased discussion of cancer patient prognosis as is physician specialty.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS:

Eliciting and validating patient concerns and attentive voice tone may be markers of physician willingness to discuss emotionally difficult topics. Educating physicians about mindful practice may increase their ability to collect important information and to attend to patient concerns.

PMID:
19819098
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2792895
Free PMC Article
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