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Eur J Public Health. 2012 Aug;22(4):464-9. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckr071. Epub 2011 Jun 28.

GULiVER--travelling into the heart of good doctor-patient communication from a patient perspective: study protocol of an international multicentre study.

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  • 11 Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Verona, Policlinico G.B. Rossi, Piazzale L.A. Scuro 10, 37134 Verona, Italy.



The project GULiVer explores how lay people in Belgium (Gent), the Netherlands (Utrecht), the UK (Liverpool) and Italy (Verona) evaluate physicians' communicative skills. The aims are to present the study design and to assess the quality of collected data.


In each centre one out of two sets of four videotaped consultations involving medical students with varying communication skills were shown to eight lay panels of six to nine participants each (n = 259). The selection of lay participants was stratified by gender and age in order to obtain a heterogeneous sample. Background characteristics included socio-demographics, participants' general physical (COOP-WONCA) and mental health (GHQ), communication preferences (QUOTE-com) and trust in doctors (TMP). Participants were asked to give quantitative and qualitative evaluations of the student doctors' performance in a mixed-methods design. Quality assessment of the collected data and protocol adherence of the four centres was carried out by Generalized Linear Model (GLM).


The overall sample comprised 259 participants. Participants were equally distributed among the centres and balanced in terms of age, gender and OSCE scenario, confirming the quality of collected data.


The study design and the applied procedures will ensure a great richness of data allowing a wider European perspective on lay persons' views, assessed both individually and through focus group discussion.

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