How to optimize physicians' communication skills in cancer care: results of a randomized study assessing the usefulness of posttraining consolidation workshops

Darius Razavi, Isabelle Merckaert, Serge Marchal, Yves Libert, Sandrine Conradt, Jacques Boniver, Anne-Marie Etienne, Ovide Fontaine, Pascal Janne, Jean Klastersky, Christine Reynaert, Pierre Scalliet, Jean-Louis Slachmuylder, Nicole Delvaux
Journal of Clinical Oncology 2003 August 15, 21 (16): 3141-9

PURPOSE: Although there is wide recognition of the usefulness of improving physicians' communication skills, no studies have yet assessed the efficacy of post-training consolidation workshops. This study aims to assess the efficacy of six 3-hour consolidation workshops conducted after a 2.5-day basic training program.

METHODS: Physicians, after attending the basic training program, were randomly assigned to consolidation workshops or to a waiting list. Training efficacy was assessed through simulated and actual patient interviews that were audiotaped at baseline and after consolidation workshops for the consolidation-workshop group, and approximately 5 months after the end of basic training for the waiting-list group. Communication skills were assessed according to the Cancer Research Campaign Workshop Evaluation Manual. Patients' perceptions of communication skills improvement were assessed using a 14-item questionnaire.

RESULTS: Sixty-three physicians completed the training program. Communication skills improved significantly more in the consolidation-workshop group compared with the waiting-list group. In simulated interviews, group-by-time repeated measures analysis of variance showed a significant increase in open and open directive questions (P =.014) and utterances alerting patients to reality (P =.049), as well as a significant decrease in premature reassurance (P =.042). In actual patient interviews, results revealed a significant increase in acknowledgements (P =.022) and empathic statements (P =.009), in educated guesses (P =.041), and in negotiations (P =.008). Patients interacting with physicians who benefited from consolidation workshops reported higher scores concerning their physicians' understanding of their disease (P =.004).

CONCLUSION: Consolidation workshops further improve a communication skills training program's efficacy and facilitate the transfer of acquired skills to clinical practice.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"