Teaching patient communication skills to medical students: A review of randomized controlled trials

Sherilyn Smith, Janice L. Hanson, Linda R. Tewksbury, Cynthia Christy, Nasreen J. Talib, Mitchell A. Harris, Gary L. Beck, Fredric M. Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

67 Scopus citations


Tools to examine the effects of teaching interventions across a variety of studies are needed. The authors perform a meta-analysis of 24 randomized controlled trials evaluating the effects of teaching on medical students' patient communication skills. Study quality is rated using a modified Jadad score, and standardized mean difference effect size (d) measures are calculated. Fifteen of 24 studies have sufficient data for analysis. Students' ability to establish rapport improves after teaching. The effects are large when the teaching intervention was small group discussion (n = 5) or giving structured feedback on a student-patient interview (n = 6). A similar effect of teaching is seen on student data gathering skills (n = 5). Teaching medical students patient communication skills using small group discussion or providing feedback on a student-patient interview results in improvement in student performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-21
Number of pages19
JournalEvaluation and the Health Professions
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2007


  • Medical student
  • Meta-analysis
  • Patient communication skills
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Health Policy

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