Physician communication coaching effects on patient experience

Adrianne Seiler, Alexander Knee, Reham Shaaban, Christine Bryson, Jasmine Paadam, Rohini Harvey, Satoko Igarashi, Christopher LaChance, Evan Benjamin, Tara Lagu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background Excellent communication is a necessary component of high-quality health care. We aimed to determine whether a training module could improve patients' perceptions of physician communication behaviors, as measured by change over time in domains of patient experience scores related to physician communication. Study design We designed a comprehensive physician-training module focused on improving specific "etiquette-based" physician communication skills through standardized simulations and physician coaching with structured feedback. We employed a quasi-experimental pre-post design, with an intervention group consisting of internal medicine hospitalists and residents and a control group consisting of surgeons. The outcome was percent "always" scores for questions related to patients' perceptions of physician communication using the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey and a Non-HCAHPS Physician-Specific Patient Experience Survey (NHPPES) administered to patients cared for by hospitalists. Results A total of 128 physicians participated in the simulation. Responses from 5020 patients were analyzed using HCAHPS survey data and 1990 patients using NHPPES survey data. The intercept shift, or the degree of change from pre-intervention percent "always" responses, for the HCAHPS questions of doctors "treating patients with courtesy" "explaining things in a way patients could understand," and "overall teamwork" showed no significant differences between surgical control and hospitalist intervention patients. Adjusted NHPPES percentexcellent survey results increased significantly post-intervention for the questions of specified individual doctors "keeping patient informed" (adjusted intercept shift 9.9%P=0.019), "overall teamwork" (adjusted intercept shift 11%, P=0.037), and "using words the patient could understand" (adjusted intercept shift 14.8%, p=0.001). Conclusion A simulation based physician communication coaching method focused on specific "etiquette-based" communication behaviors through a deliberate practice framework was not associated with significantly improved HCAHPS physician communication patient experience scores. Further research could reveal ways that this model affects patients' perceptions of physician communication relating to specific physicians or behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0180294
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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