Dual Effects of Improving Doctor-Patient Communication: Patient Satisfaction and Hospital Ratings
Posted: 11 Jan 2018
Date Written: January 1, 2018
We explore the extent to which improving doctor-patient communication (DPC) can address and alleviate many healthcare delivery inefficiencies. We survey causes and costs of miscommunication including perceptual gaps between how physicians believe they perform their communicative duties versus how patients feel and highlight thresholds such as the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) used by hospitals to identify health outcomes and improve DPC. We find that positive DPC correlates with better and more accurate care as well as with more satisfied patients. We utilize an assessment framework, DPCA, empirically measuring the effectiveness of DPC. While patient care is sometimes viewed as purely technical, there is evidence that DPC strongly predicts clinical outcomes as well as patients’ overall ratings of hospitals. More research is needed to extend our understanding of the impact of the DPC on the overall HCAHPS ratings of hospitals. We think that researchers should adopt a qualitative method (e.g., content analysis) for analyzing DPC discourse. When a sufficient amount of DPCA training is initiated, a norming procedure could be developed and a database may be employed to demonstrate training program’s efficacy, a critical factor in establishing the credibility of the measurement program and nurturing support for its use.
Keywords: HCAHPS, Doctor-Patient Communication, Perceptual Gaps, International Medical Graduate, Assessment and Development, Self-improvement
JEL Classification: I1
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