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J Gen Intern Med. 1994 Jul;9(7):402-4.

How do physicians talk with their patients about risks?

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New York University Medical Center, Department of Medicine, New York.


To describe the communication about risk between community-based physicians and their patients, the authors audiotaped 160 physician-patient encounters in the private practices of 19 physicians. Coding was done using a structured scheme to identify the presence of talk about risk of future illness, and to describe its characteristics. Patient understanding and satisfaction were assessed through an interview. Risk discussion occurred in 26% (95% CI 19%-33%) of the visits, quantitatively in two cases and specifically with respect to outcome in 48% (95% CI 40%-56%) of the visits. The patients initiated only 16% of this discussion but were, in general, satisfied with their care and the information they had received, but they had poor recall of the specifics of the discussion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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