Diagnostic reasoning is associated with lower physician satisfaction with patient communication

Link to article at PubMed

Intern Med J. 2021 Oct 14. doi: 10.1111/imj.15580. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVES: The objective of the study was to examine the quality of communication across the different medical specialties. Prior research suggests that the quality of communication between doctors and patients influences the quality of medical care and adherence to treatment regimens, but little is known about factors that contribute to successful interactions between doctors and patients.

SETTING: A survey questionnaire was undertaken at large metropolitan based hospital in Brisbane, Australia.

PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOMES: In this initial study, we surveyed 67 doctors across various specialties on a range of social cognition and personality measures. We then rated each of the specialties on the degree to which they rely on both procedures and diagnostics, as well as the extent to which they involve patient communication.

RESULTS: A regression analysis using SPSS 26.0 was undertaken to ascertain if doctor's satisfaction with their communication was related to these three aspects of the various specialties. Results revealed that communication satisfaction was negatively related to the degree to which the specialty relies on diagnostics. No relationship emerged between reliance on procedures and communication satisfaction. Finally, communication frequency was positively related to communication satisfaction.

CONCLUSIONS: We propose two possible accounts for this finding regarding diagnostics: 1) the cognitive demands of diagnosis disrupt communication and/or 2) diagnoses are interpreted by patients as opinions with which they are sometimes motivated to disagree. Further research is needed to replicate these findings and establish the underlying mechanism. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

PMID:34647682 | DOI:10.1111/imj.15580

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.