Development and evaluation of novel tool to assess communication skills in adult triadic interviews

Patient Educ Couns. 2021 Jul 4;S0738-3991(21)00436-5. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2021.07.001. Online ahead of print.


Objective: Develop and evaluate the reliability and validity of a novel assessment tool for triadic communication.

Methods: We developed the tool using published opinions of patients and companions regarding effective communication, and used it in a four-station Objective Standardized Clinical Examination (OSCE) with 140 medical students, including one triadic interview station. We conducted multitrait-multimethod (MTMM) and generalizability (G) analyses to assess its performance.

Results: MTMM analyses demonstrated the validity of the instrument in assessing two separate communication traits (with patient and companion), as showed by the high covariation of both traits based on patient and companion's ratings (average r = 0.78) compared to the inter-traits covariation within (average r = 0.50) and across raters (average r = 0.45). G analyses showed that the communication assessment of the single triadic station functioned similar to two independent stations, revealing the novel tool's ability to reliably measure medical students' ability to communicate with patient and companion.

Conclusion: Triadic communication skills with patient and companion can be individually assessed within a single OSCE station using this novel tool.

Practice implications: This tool fills a gap in communication assessments, allowing for reliable evaluation of triadic communication.

Keywords: Communication assessment; Evaluation tool; Objective Standardized Clinical Examination; Triadic communication.