Impact of hospitalist communication-skills training on patient-satisfaction scores

J Hosp Med. 2013 Jun;8(6):315-20. doi: 10.1002/jhm.2041. Epub 2013 Apr 3.


Background: Hospital patient-satisfaction scores now affect hospital payment, but little research addresses how hospitals or clinicians might improve performance.

Objective: To assess the impact of a communication-skills training program on patient satisfaction with doctor communication and overall hospital care.

Design: Preintervention vs postintervention comparison of patient-satisfaction scores. We designed a communication-skills training program for hospitalists consisting of three 90-minute sessions, based on a popular framework.

Setting: Nonteaching hospitalist service in an urban academic hospital.

Measurements: Doctor-communication items from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) and Press Ganey surveys, and HCAHPS overall hospital rating.

Results: Overall, 61 (97%) of 63 hospitalists completed the first session, 44 (70%) completed the second session, and 25 (40%) completed the third session of the program. Patient-satisfaction data was available for 278 patients during the preintervention period and 186 patients during the postintervention period. Two of the 3 HCAHPS and all 5 of the Press Ganey doctor-communication items were rated higher during the postintervention period, but no result was statistically significant. Similarly, the overall hospital rating was higher during the postintervention period, but the result was not significant. Analyses based on level of hospitalist participation did not show significant differences.

Conclusions: Patient satisfaction did not significantly improve after a communication-skills training program for hospitalists. Because of the small sample size, larger studies are needed to assess whether such a program might truly improve patient satisfaction.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Communication*
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Female
  • Hospitalists / education*
  • Hospitalists / standards*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*