Sunday, June 17, 2012

Graphic on Mind the Gap Emphasizes Impact of Clinician-Patient Communication

A new posting on the blog, Mind the Gap, by Stephen Wilkins, graphically shows the value of good clinician-patient communication. See: Mind the Gap Graphic.

I really like the quote he included from George Bernard Shaw, "The problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred".

Shaw's quote reflects a key finding from research on clinician-patient communication: clinicians who have lover levels of skill are least likely to be aware of their skill deficit. For example, a review on the effectiveness of self-assessment of learner needs by I. Colthart and colleages (Medical Teacher, 30(2):124-45, 2008) found evidence that that the least competent are also the least able to self-assess accurately. This is why we can't count on clinician self-report and need to assess the competency of clinicians using methods that provide direct evidence of clinician communication skills, such as audio or videos of actual encounters,  evaluations of simulated encounters, assessment of patient experience. (See: Levinson et al.,  Health Aff (Millwood) 29(7): 1310-8.)

The good news is that the accuracy of self-assessment can be enhanced by feedback, particularly video and verbal feedback.

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