Document Detail

Surgeon communication behaviors that lead patients to not recommend the surgeon to family members or friends: Analysis and impact.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17011909     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: This study analyzes specific elements of physician communication that lead patients to not recommend surgeons to family members or friends (FMoFs). METHODS: Patients completed questionnaires after surgery clinic encounters. Questionnaires addressed whether surgeons used optimal communication behaviors and whether patients would recommend the surgeon. RESULTS: A total of 1,514 questionnaires were completed for 39 surgeons. Patients reported the following communication lapses: failure to ask whether the patient had questions (6.9% of occasions), failure to sit down (6.5%), use of words patients could not understand (5%), failure to educate patients about their condition (4.3%), failure to introduce themselves (4%), lack of interest in patients as persons (2.4%), and inadequacies in answering questions (2%). Surgeons omitted at least one of these optimal behaviors in 16.3% of encounters. Surgeons were not recommended in 1.7% of encounters. Twelve surgeons (31%) were not recommended on at least 1 occasion. Behaviors omitted most commonly in encounters where patients wouldn't recommend surgeons included failure to show interest in the patient (52%), explain their medical condition (52%), invite questions (40%), and answer questions (36%). CONCLUSIONS: Extrapolating these results to 1,618 patient visits/surgeon/year, results in the following number of patients annually who do not recommend their surgeons: 15 for failure to adequately explain their medical condition, 15 for failure to show interest in them, 11 for failure to ask if the patient had questions, and 10 for failure to answer questions. Considering the ripple effect due to the number of a patient's FMoFs, surgeons should be aware of the significant impact of even occasional lapses in optimal communication behaviors.
Robert B McLafferty; Reed G Williams; Andrew D Lambert; Gary L Dunnington
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2006-08-30
Journal Detail:
Title:  Surgery     Volume:  140     ISSN:  0039-6060     ISO Abbreviation:  Surgery     Publication Date:  2006 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-10-02     Completed Date:  2006-11-02     Revised Date:  2008-11-21    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0417347     Medline TA:  Surgery     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  616-22; discussion 622-4     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Department of Surgery, Southern Illinois University, School of Medicine, Springfield, Ill, USA.
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MeSH Terms
General Surgery*
Middle Aged
Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
Patient Satisfaction*
Physician-Patient Relations*

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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