Background: In evaluating the efficacy of health care provider counseling to encourage patients to modify health behaviors such as physical activity, it is important to be able to accurately measure the extent of health care provider counseling.
Methods: The Physical Activity Exit Interview (PAEI) is a brief measure of a patient's perception of the content of physical activity promotion counseling received during a visit with his or her physician. Forty-three primary care patients, and their physicians, completed a PAEI following a visit, which was compared to an audiotape of the visit that was coded to identify the physical activity counseling steps taken.
Results: Participants were 67% female, 81.7% white, and had a mean age of 47.1 years. Overall, there was good concordance in the overall number of counseling activities reported between patients and audiotapes (r = 0.47, P < 0.01), patients and physicians (r = 0.51, P < 0.01), and between physicians and audiotapes (r = 0.57, P < 0.01). Significant differences between the three measurement methods (patient exit interview, physician exit interview, audiotape) existed for only 4 of 12 items.
Conclusions: The PAPEI was overall accurate in measuring the content of physical activity counseling, though accuracy differed between items. When discrepancy occurred, it was typically due to patient overreporting of counseling steps.