C. Andrew Brodkin, MD, MPH; Kayla I. Brodkin, MD
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Brodkin C., Brodkin K.; Role of Communication Skills Training. Ann Intern Med. 2000;132:844. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-132-10-200005160-00026
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2000;132(10):844.
TO THE EDITOR:
Although Brown and colleagues' findings  raise questions about the efficacy of clinician communication skills training in improving patient satisfaction, the authors' definitive statement that such training “is not effective in improving general patient satisfaction” appears overstated given the inability to adjust for essential environmental factors in the analysis. The substantial increase in health maintenance organization enrollment observed during the study period introduces two important independent variables that could adversely affect patient satisfaction: 1) higher practice volume and 2) diminished depth of physician–patient relationships.
Increased practice volume is associated with lower patient satisfaction, independent of time spent with patients (2). Reductions in perceived time spent with providers can further adversely affect patient satisfaction (3). Conversely, the depth of the physician–patient relationship has been a principal component of patient satisfaction in discriminant analyses of general outpatient practice (3). Not surprisingly, lack of continuity in the physician–patient relationship has been identified by patients as an important quality deficiency in outpatient settings (4).
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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