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Health Commun. 2003;15(4):393-413.

Correspondence among patients' self-reports, chart records, and audio/videotapes of medical visits.

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Department of Psychology, University of California at Riverside, USA.


This pilot study examined the covariation of patients' self-reports of instrumental and affective aspects of communication during physician-patient visits with 2 other sources of data: medical chart records and audio/videotapes. Participants were 17 community-based (nonuniversity) primary-care physicians and 77 of their patients, ages 50 to 80. Patients were interviewed by telephone within 1 week after their medical visits. Thirty-five of these visits were audio- and videotaped. Patients were asked to report on their receipt of specific cancer screening in the previous 2 years, the occurrence of instrumental communication events during the visit (e.g., recommendations), their affect, and their visit experiences and communication with their physicians. Results showed (a) noteworthy disagreements between patients' self-reports and medical charts regarding cancer screening; (b) better agreement of patients' self-reports with videotape records than with chart records regarding physicians' recommendations; (c) accurate recognition of patients' self-reported affect, communication, and visit experiences by third-party raters of both audiotapes and videotapes; and (d) similar correlations of audio- and videotape ratings with patients' self-reports as well as substantial correlations between audio and video ratings. The implications of these findings are discussed, and recommendations are made for future research.

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