|Author(s)||David W. Easter, Wayne Beach|
|Title||Competent Patient Care is Dependent upon Attending to Empathic Opportunities Presented during Interview Sessions|
|Tag(s)||medical EMCA, surgical training, interview sessions, doctor-responsive actions, physicians|
Objective: Core competencies in surgical education and clinical care rely on effective patient-physician communication. We aim to develop quantitative and empirical tools for understanding critical communication tasks during patient interviews.
Methods: Residents in surgical training and attending physicians were separately video recorded during stressful, first visit oncology patient interview sessions. Taped sessions (n = 16) were analyzed in detail to identify and label patient-initiated actions (PIAs), or “empathic opportunities,” that call for recognition or action from the caregiver. Doctor-responsive actions (DRAs) were labeled as matching to, or missing from, each empathic opportunity. Missed empathic opportunities occurred when a PIA did not have an associated DRA. Presession and postsession surveys queried the patient's perception of how well their health-care needs were met.
Results: Resident trainees and attending physicians missed 70% of 160 clearly identified empathic opportunities. There was no clear association with the level of physician training. This pilot study did not have enough power to discern differences in patient satisfaction.
Conclusions: Physicians are often not very attentive to empathic opportunities offered by patients. Individual feedback and training regarding empathic opportunities in recorded patient communication encounters may improve resident and physician core competencies. These improvements may affect patient satisfaction related to these encounters.