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Academia and the Profession |

Communication Skills of House Officers: A Study in a Medical Clinic

DAVID L. DUFFY, M.D.; DAVID HAMERMAN, M.D.; and MARY ANN COHEN, M.D.
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Grant support: Dr. Duffy was the recipient of a W.K. Kellogg Fellowship from the Hospital Research and Educational Trust. Dr. Cohen, in liaison psychiatry, was supported by grant 5TO1MH 14368-04 from the National Institutes of Mental Health.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to David L. Duffy, M.D.; Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center, 111 East 210th Street; Bronx, NY 10467.


Bronx, New York


© 1980 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1980;93(2):354-357. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-93-2-354
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The communication skills of house officers in a medical clinic were studied. Ten communication skills were identified as being central to the doctor-patient relationship. Twenty interns and residents were observed in 60 clinic visits. Skills well-demonstrated by the house officers related to listening, history taking, assessing patient compliance, examining the patient, and prescribing therapy. Underdeveloped skills were those that involved obtaining the patient's understanding of his illness, social history, and emotional response and the doctor's explanation of the illness. To enhance performance of these skills, changes are recommended in four areas of ambulatory teaching: liaison psychiatry, faculty development, medical precepting, and the relationship between faculty and house officers.

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