Importance of nonverbal communication in the patient encounter

M. Burke, C. Griffith, S. Haist, J. Wilson, Shelby Langer, C. McAninch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Past studies of physician communication skills and patient satisfaction have shown a positive correlation between the two. The studies haven't addressed how the quality of information elicited from or provided to the patient varies with physician communication skills. Methods: Subjects were 12 residents in a combined medicine/pediatrics residency, who participated in a 13 station Clinical Performance Exercise in November, 1997. Stations were 15 minutes long; 9 used standardized patients (SP). After completing a station, the SP rated the resident on the quality of the information elicited or provided, and on general interview skills. Two stations were videotaped and analyzed for physician nonverbal behaviors. These stations were: 1) telling a mother her child had cystic fibrosis, and 2) counseling a woman with chronic pain and depression, who if questioned directly and empathically, gave a history of childhood sexual abuse. Factor analysis of the nonverbal behaviors resulted in four distinct factors: "warmth" and "calm" behaviors, body position, and speech characteristics. Results: At the cystic fibrosis station, patient satisfaction correlated with the nonverbal "warmth" (r=0.97) and "calm" (r=0.63) behaviors,and with body position (r=0.91) but not with quality of the information provided (r=0.11). At the abuse station, only half of the 12 physicians uncovered the history of abuse. Those who did were rated as significantly calmer (p<.05) and as having a more interested, less bored tone of voice (p<.05). Patient satisfaction correlated with ratings of physician warmth, posture, and calmness (r all>0.75). Further, patients felt significantly more satisfied with the interaction if the physician elicited the history of abuse (p<.05). Conclusions: In emotionally-charged encounters, physician nonverbal communication skills are important for eliciting sensitive information as well as for improved patient satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Investigative Medicine
Volume47
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Nonverbal Communication
Physicians
Communication
Patient Satisfaction
Pediatrics
Factor analysis
Cystic Fibrosis
Medicine
History
Sex Offenses
Internship and Residency
Chronic Pain
Statistical Factor Analysis
Counseling
Mothers
Interviews
Exercise
Depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this

Burke, M., Griffith, C., Haist, S., Wilson, J., Langer, S., & McAninch, C. (1999). Importance of nonverbal communication in the patient encounter. Journal of Investigative Medicine, 47(2).

Importance of nonverbal communication in the patient encounter. / Burke, M.; Griffith, C.; Haist, S.; Wilson, J.; Langer, Shelby; McAninch, C.

In: Journal of Investigative Medicine, Vol. 47, No. 2, 1999.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Burke, M, Griffith, C, Haist, S, Wilson, J, Langer, S & McAninch, C 1999, 'Importance of nonverbal communication in the patient encounter', Journal of Investigative Medicine, vol. 47, no. 2.
Burke, M. ; Griffith, C. ; Haist, S. ; Wilson, J. ; Langer, Shelby ; McAninch, C. / Importance of nonverbal communication in the patient encounter. In: Journal of Investigative Medicine. 1999 ; Vol. 47, No. 2.
@article{f4649729315e4b9bab18b37385238058,
title = "Importance of nonverbal communication in the patient encounter",
abstract = "Background: Past studies of physician communication skills and patient satisfaction have shown a positive correlation between the two. The studies haven't addressed how the quality of information elicited from or provided to the patient varies with physician communication skills. Methods: Subjects were 12 residents in a combined medicine/pediatrics residency, who participated in a 13 station Clinical Performance Exercise in November, 1997. Stations were 15 minutes long; 9 used standardized patients (SP). After completing a station, the SP rated the resident on the quality of the information elicited or provided, and on general interview skills. Two stations were videotaped and analyzed for physician nonverbal behaviors. These stations were: 1) telling a mother her child had cystic fibrosis, and 2) counseling a woman with chronic pain and depression, who if questioned directly and empathically, gave a history of childhood sexual abuse. Factor analysis of the nonverbal behaviors resulted in four distinct factors: {"}warmth{"} and {"}calm{"} behaviors, body position, and speech characteristics. Results: At the cystic fibrosis station, patient satisfaction correlated with the nonverbal {"}warmth{"} (r=0.97) and {"}calm{"} (r=0.63) behaviors,and with body position (r=0.91) but not with quality of the information provided (r=0.11). At the abuse station, only half of the 12 physicians uncovered the history of abuse. Those who did were rated as significantly calmer (p<.05) and as having a more interested, less bored tone of voice (p<.05). Patient satisfaction correlated with ratings of physician warmth, posture, and calmness (r all>0.75). Further, patients felt significantly more satisfied with the interaction if the physician elicited the history of abuse (p<.05). Conclusions: In emotionally-charged encounters, physician nonverbal communication skills are important for eliciting sensitive information as well as for improved patient satisfaction.",
author = "M. Burke and C. Griffith and S. Haist and J. Wilson and Shelby Langer and C. McAninch",
year = "1999",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "47",
journal = "Journal of Investigative Medicine",
issn = "1081-5589",
publisher = "Lippincott Williams and Wilkins",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Importance of nonverbal communication in the patient encounter

AU - Burke, M.

AU - Griffith, C.

AU - Haist, S.

AU - Wilson, J.

AU - Langer, Shelby

AU - McAninch, C.

PY - 1999

Y1 - 1999

N2 - Background: Past studies of physician communication skills and patient satisfaction have shown a positive correlation between the two. The studies haven't addressed how the quality of information elicited from or provided to the patient varies with physician communication skills. Methods: Subjects were 12 residents in a combined medicine/pediatrics residency, who participated in a 13 station Clinical Performance Exercise in November, 1997. Stations were 15 minutes long; 9 used standardized patients (SP). After completing a station, the SP rated the resident on the quality of the information elicited or provided, and on general interview skills. Two stations were videotaped and analyzed for physician nonverbal behaviors. These stations were: 1) telling a mother her child had cystic fibrosis, and 2) counseling a woman with chronic pain and depression, who if questioned directly and empathically, gave a history of childhood sexual abuse. Factor analysis of the nonverbal behaviors resulted in four distinct factors: "warmth" and "calm" behaviors, body position, and speech characteristics. Results: At the cystic fibrosis station, patient satisfaction correlated with the nonverbal "warmth" (r=0.97) and "calm" (r=0.63) behaviors,and with body position (r=0.91) but not with quality of the information provided (r=0.11). At the abuse station, only half of the 12 physicians uncovered the history of abuse. Those who did were rated as significantly calmer (p<.05) and as having a more interested, less bored tone of voice (p<.05). Patient satisfaction correlated with ratings of physician warmth, posture, and calmness (r all>0.75). Further, patients felt significantly more satisfied with the interaction if the physician elicited the history of abuse (p<.05). Conclusions: In emotionally-charged encounters, physician nonverbal communication skills are important for eliciting sensitive information as well as for improved patient satisfaction.

AB - Background: Past studies of physician communication skills and patient satisfaction have shown a positive correlation between the two. The studies haven't addressed how the quality of information elicited from or provided to the patient varies with physician communication skills. Methods: Subjects were 12 residents in a combined medicine/pediatrics residency, who participated in a 13 station Clinical Performance Exercise in November, 1997. Stations were 15 minutes long; 9 used standardized patients (SP). After completing a station, the SP rated the resident on the quality of the information elicited or provided, and on general interview skills. Two stations were videotaped and analyzed for physician nonverbal behaviors. These stations were: 1) telling a mother her child had cystic fibrosis, and 2) counseling a woman with chronic pain and depression, who if questioned directly and empathically, gave a history of childhood sexual abuse. Factor analysis of the nonverbal behaviors resulted in four distinct factors: "warmth" and "calm" behaviors, body position, and speech characteristics. Results: At the cystic fibrosis station, patient satisfaction correlated with the nonverbal "warmth" (r=0.97) and "calm" (r=0.63) behaviors,and with body position (r=0.91) but not with quality of the information provided (r=0.11). At the abuse station, only half of the 12 physicians uncovered the history of abuse. Those who did were rated as significantly calmer (p<.05) and as having a more interested, less bored tone of voice (p<.05). Patient satisfaction correlated with ratings of physician warmth, posture, and calmness (r all>0.75). Further, patients felt significantly more satisfied with the interaction if the physician elicited the history of abuse (p<.05). Conclusions: In emotionally-charged encounters, physician nonverbal communication skills are important for eliciting sensitive information as well as for improved patient satisfaction.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=33750113603&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=33750113603&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:33750113603

VL - 47

JO - Journal of Investigative Medicine

JF - Journal of Investigative Medicine

SN - 1081-5589

IS - 2

ER -