The effects of communication skills training on patients' participation during medical interviews

Patient Educ Couns. 2000 Sep;41(2):209-22. doi: 10.1016/s0738-3991(00)00093-8.


Recent models of physician-patient communication emphasize information exchange in promoting partnership. Although considerable attention has been given to physicians' information exchange, little research has examined patients' communication contributions. The purpose of this research was to test the effectiveness of a training booklet designed to enhance patients' communication skills in information exchange. A nested design was used, such that 25 physicians each saw six patients, two patients in each of three communication skills interventions (i.e. trained, informed, control). The dependent variables included several discourse categories designed to assess patients' information seeking, provision, and verifying. Results indicate that trained patients engaged in more effective and efficient information seeking, provided physicians with more detailed information about their medical condition, and used more summarizing utterances to verify information they received from physicians. Additionally, dyads consisting of trained patients demonstrated a more patient-controlled style of communication than did dyads consisting of informed or untrained patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Communication*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Medical History Taking
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Patient Participation
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires