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Korean J Fam Med. 2012 Nov;33(6):366-71. doi: 10.4082/kjfm.2012.33.6.366. Epub 2012 Nov 27.

Effects of BATHE Interview Protocol on Patient Satisfaction.

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Department of Family Medicine, Dankook University College of Medicine, Cheonan, Korea.



BATHE, the acronym for background, affect, trouble, handling, and empathy, is an interview approach that can be applied in the out-patient setting whereby questions belonging to each of the 5 categories are asked in the above order. As we have been taught to believe that BATHE raises the level of patient satisfaction and the quality of medical treatment overall, this study was designed to test the validity of the claim that applying BATHE heightens patient satisfaction.


Each of the 5 doctors was assigned 10 patients (5 in the BATHE group and the other 5 in the control group) with each patient being randomly assigned to either of the groups. The control group was interviewed as usual and the BATHE group was interviewed using BATHE. Immediately after the interview, each patient anonymously filled out a patient satisfaction questionnaire. Whether the questions asked were appropriate for each category of the protocol was evaluated by the researcher through video clips taped during the interviews.


On 7 out of 10 items on the patient satisfaction questionnaire, the BATHE group was found to experience higher level of satisfaction than the control group in a statistically significant manner. The questions asked the BATHE group were confirmed to be more appropriate for each category of the protocol except empathy than those asked the control group.


As applying the BATHE approach was found to achieve higher level of patient satisfaction, we recommend using it in the out-patient setting.


BATHE Techniques; Interviews; Patient Satisfaction

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