Rehabilitation-specific communication skills training: Improving the physician-patient relationship

James A Sliwa*, Gregory Makoul, Henry Betts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


Objective: Evaluate the effectiveness of a rehabilitation-specific communication skills training program for physicians. Design: Three groups of rehabilitation patients were interviewed 3 mo after discharge, one group before and two groups after implementation of a communication skills training program. The setting was a free-standing rehabilitation hospital with a residency training program. A total of 245 patients who had been discharged from the rehabilitation hospital participated in the study. A communication skills training program that was designed specifically for physicians and patients in the rehabilitation setting was used as an intervention. Patients' perceptions of the extent to which physicians accomplished 18 communication tasks highlighted by the training program were gauged in a structured telephone interview. Results: Participants interviewed after the training program was implemented more strongly agreed that their physicians accomplished the communication tasks assessed than did patients interviewed before the training program began. On 14 of 18 items, the differences were statistically significant (P < 0.05). Conclusion: Specialty-specific communication training can improve physician communication skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-132
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 6 2002


  • Communication program
  • Interdisciplinary communication
  • Physician-patient relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

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