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J Gen Intern Med. 2019 Jan;34(1):36-40. doi: 10.1007/s11606-018-4540-5. Epub 2018 Jul 2.

Eliciting the Patient's Agenda- Secondary Analysis of Recorded Clinical Encounters.

Author information

1
Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
2
Knowledge and Evaluation Research Unit, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Metabolism and Nutrition, Department of Medicine, Rochester, MN, USA.
3
Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, Rochester, MN, USA.
4
Division of Endocrinology, Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital "Dr. Jose E. Gonzalez", Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo Leon, Monterrey, Mexico.
5
Laboratorio Nacional para el Estudio y Aplicación de la Medicina Basada en Evidencia, Análisis Crítico de la Información Científica y Farmacoeconomía, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Monterrey, Mexico.
6
Department of Emergency Medicine, Aventura Hospital and Medical Center, Miami, FL, USA.
7
Center for Pharmacy Innovation and Outcomes, Geisinger, Forty Fort, PA, USA.
8
Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.
9
Department of Health Sciences Research, Division of Health Care Policy and Research, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.
10
Knowledge and Evaluation Research Unit, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Metabolism and Nutrition, Department of Medicine, Rochester, MN, USA. montori.victor@mayo.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Eliciting patient concerns and listening carefully to them contributes to patient-centered care. Yet, clinicians often fail to elicit the patient's agenda and, when they do, they interrupt the patient's discourse.

OBJECTIVE:

We aimed to describe the extent to which patients' concerns are elicited across different clinical settings and how shared decision-making tools impact agenda elicitation.

DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS:

We performed a secondary analysis of a random sample of 112 clinical encounters recorded during trials testing the efficacy of shared decision-making tools.

MAIN MEASURES:

Two reviewers, working independently, characterized the elicitation of the patient agenda and the time to interruption or to complete statement; we analyzed the distribution of agenda elicitation according to setting and use of shared decision-making tools.

KEY RESULTS:

Clinicians elicited the patient's agenda in 40 of 112 (36%) encounters. Agendas were elicited more often in primary care (30/61 encounters, 49%) than in specialty care (10/51 encounters, 20%); p = .058. Shared decision-making tools did not affect the likelihood of eliciting the patient's agenda (34 vs. 37% in encounters with and without these tools; p = .09). In 27 of the 40 (67%) encounters in which clinicians elicited patient concerns, the clinician interrupted the patient after a median of 11 seconds (interquartile range 7-22; range 3 to 234 s). Uninterrupted patients took a median of 6 s (interquartile range 3-19; range 2 to 108 s) to state their concern.

CONCLUSIONS:

Clinicians seldom elicit the patient's agenda; when they do, they interrupt patients sooner than previously reported. Physicians in specialty care elicited the patient's agenda less often compared to physicians in primary care. Failure to elicit the patient's agenda reduces the chance that clinicians will orient the priorities of a clinical encounter toward specific aspects that matter to each patient.

KEYWORDS:

agenda setting; patient-centered care; patient-physician communication

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