Effectiveness of a short course in clinical communication skills for hospital doctors: Results of a crossover randomized controlled trial (ISRCTN22153332)

Bård Fossli Jensen, Pål Gulbrandsen, Fredrik A. Dahl, Edward Krupat, Richard M. Frankel, Arnstein Finset

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

77 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To test the hypothesis that a 20-h communication skills course based on the Four Habits model can improve doctor-patient communication among hospital employed doctors across specialties. Methods: Crossover randomized controlled trial in a 500-bed hospital with interventions at different time points in the two arms. Assessments were video-based and blinded. Intervention consisted of 20. h of communication training, containing alternating plenary with theory/debriefs and practical group sessions with role-plays tailored to each doctor. Results: Of 103 doctors asked to participate, 72 were included, 62 received the intervention, 51 were included in the main analysis, and another six were included in the intention-to-treat analysis. We found an increase in the Four Habits Coding Scheme of 7.5 points (p = 0.01, 95% confidence interval 1.6-13.3), fairly evenly distributed on subgroups. Baseline score (SD) was 60.3 (9.9). Global patient satisfaction did not change, neither did average encounter duration. Conclusion: Utilizing an outpatient-clinic training model developed in the US, we demonstrated that a 20-h course could be generalized across medical and national cultures, indicating improvement of communication skills among hospital doctors. Practice implications: The Four Habits model is suitable for communication-training courses in hospital settings. Doctors across specialties can attend the same course.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-169
Number of pages7
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Volume84
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011

Keywords

  • Communication training
  • Crossover
  • Doctor-patient relationship
  • RCT
  • Video assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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