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Assessing Patients' Perceptions of Clinician Communication: Acceptability of Brief Point-of-Care Surveys in Primary Care.

Dryden EM, Hyde JK, Wormwood JB, Wu J, Calloway R, Cutrona SL, Elwyn G, Fix GM, Orner MB, Shimada SL, Bokhour BG. Assessing Patients' Perceptions of Clinician Communication: Acceptability of Brief Point-of-Care Surveys in Primary Care. Journal of general internal medicine. 2020 Oct 1; 35(10):2990-2999.

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BACKGROUND: Improving patient-centered (PC) communication is a priority in many healthcare organizations. Most PC communication metrics are distal to the care encounter and lack clear attribution, thereby reducing relevance for leaders and clinicians. OBJECTIVE: We assessed the acceptability of measuring PC communication at the point-of-care. DESIGN: A brief patient survey was conducted immediately post-primary care appointments at one Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Audit-feedback reports were created for clinicians and discussed in qualitative interviews. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 485 patients completed the survey. Thirteen interviews were conducted with clinicians and hospital leaders. MAIN MEASURE(S): Measures included collaboRATE (a 3-item tool measuring PC communication), a question about how well needs were met, and overall visit satisfaction. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics to characterize the mean and distribution of collaboRATE scores and determine the proportion of patients giving clinicians a "top score" on each item. Associations among responses were examined. Interviews focused on the value of measuring PC communication and were analyzed using a framework approach. KEY RESULTS: The proportion of patients giving PC communication "top scores" ranged from 41 to 92% for 16 clinicians who had = 25 completed surveys. Among patients who gave "top scores" for PC communication, the odds of reporting that needs were "completely met" were 10.8 times higher (p? < .001) and the odds of reporting being "very satisfied" with their care were 13.3 times higher (p? < .001) compared with patients who did not give "top scores." Interviewees found clinician-specific feedback useful; concerns included prioritizing this data when other measures are used to evaluate clinicians' performance. Difficulties improving PC communication given organizational structures were noted. Recommendations for interventions included peer-to-peer education and mentoring by top-scoring clinicians. CONCLUSIONS: Assessing provider communication at the point-of-care is acceptable and useful to clinicians. Challenges remain to properly incentivize and support the use of this data for improving PC communication.

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