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Br J Med Psychol. 1987 Dec;60 ( Pt 4):373-8.

A communication skills programme for increasing patients' satisfaction with general practice consultations.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Austin Hospital, Heidelberg, Australia.


The research literature on patient perceptions of general practice consultations shows that, while patients are generally satisfied with the treatment they receive from doctors, they report less satisfaction with the amount and clarity of information they receive and doctors' expression of caring and respect. In the surgery, inadequate information transmission during the interaction also has the effect of increasing the level of anxiety reported by patients after their consultations. A communication skills programme was developed, incorporating variables from both the emotional and cognitive domains of the consultation. A group of GPs undertook training in this programme. It was hypothesized that patients of the trained doctors would report greater satisfaction and less anxiety, compared with patients of untrained general practitioners. Subsequent randomized interviews with patients of the trained doctors showed that these patients were significantly more satisfied with their consultations. Patients of the trained doctors also reported less state anxiety immediately following their consultations, as measured using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Attempts by doctors to communicate more effectively in consultations therefore increased patients' positive feelings and reduced anxiety.

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