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J Am Board Fam Med. 2018 Mar-Apr;31(2):270-278. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2018.02.170313.

Humor During Clinical Practice: Analysis of Recorded Clinical Encounters.

Author information

1
From the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, Rochester, MN (KAP); Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL (NSO); Knowledge and Evaluation Research Unit, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Metabolism and Nutrition, Department of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester (NSO, RRG, VM); Division of Endocrinology, Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital "Dr. Jose E. Gonzalez," Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, San Nicolás de los Garza, N.L., Monterrey, Mexico (RRG); National Laboratory for the Study and Application of Evidence Based Medicine, Critial Analysis of Scientific Information and Pharmacoeconomics, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, San Nicolás de los Garza, N.L., Monterrey, Mexico (RRG); Department of Emergency Medicine, Aventura Hospital and Medical Center, Aventura (ACG); Center for Pharmacy Innovation and Outcomes, Geisinger Health System, Forty Fort, PA (MRG); Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester (MB); Department of Health Sciences Research, Division of Health Care Policy and Research, Mayo Clinic, Rochester (MB).
2
From the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, Rochester, MN (KAP); Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL (NSO); Knowledge and Evaluation Research Unit, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Metabolism and Nutrition, Department of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester (NSO, RRG, VM); Division of Endocrinology, Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital "Dr. Jose E. Gonzalez," Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, San Nicolás de los Garza, N.L., Monterrey, Mexico (RRG); National Laboratory for the Study and Application of Evidence Based Medicine, Critial Analysis of Scientific Information and Pharmacoeconomics, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, San Nicolás de los Garza, N.L., Monterrey, Mexico (RRG); Department of Emergency Medicine, Aventura Hospital and Medical Center, Aventura (ACG); Center for Pharmacy Innovation and Outcomes, Geisinger Health System, Forty Fort, PA (MRG); Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester (MB); Department of Health Sciences Research, Division of Health Care Policy and Research, Mayo Clinic, Rochester (MB). montori.victor@mayo.edu.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Little is known about humor's use in clinical encounters, despite its many potential benefits. We aimed to describe humor during clinical encounters.

DESIGN:

We analyzed 112 recorded clinical encounters. Two reviewers working independently identified instances of humor, as well as information surrounding the logistics of its use.

RESULTS:

Of the 112 encounters, 66 (59%) contained 131 instances of humor. Humor was similarly frequent in primary care (36/61, 59%) and in specialty care (30/51, 59%), was more common in gender-concordant interactions (43/63, 68%), and was most common during counseling (81/112, 62%). Patients and clinicians introduced humor similarly (63 vs 66 instances). Typically, humor was about the patient's medical condition (40/131, 31%).

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION:

Humor is used commonly during counseling to discuss the patient's medical condition and to relate to general life events bringing warmth to the medical encounter. The timing and topic of humor and its use by all parties suggests humor plays a role in the social connection between patients and physicians and allows easier discussion of difficult topics. Further research is necessary to establish its impact on clinicians, patients, and outcomes.

KEYWORDS:

Humor; Patient-Centered Care; Patient-Physician Communication; Physician-Patient Relations; Primary Health Care

PMID:
29535244
DOI:
10.3122/jabfm.2018.02.170313
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