Randomised controlled trial of a brief intervention targeting predominantly non-verbal communication in general practice consultations

Little, P., White, P., Kelly, J., Everitt, H. and Mercer, S. (2015) Randomised controlled trial of a brief intervention targeting predominantly non-verbal communication in general practice consultations. British Journal of General Practice, 65(635), e351-e356. (doi:10.3399/bjgp15X685237) (PMID:26009529)

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<b>Background</b> The impact of changing non-verbal consultation behaviours is unknown. <p></p> <b>Aim </b>To assess brief physician training on improving predominantly non-verbal communication.<p></p> <b>Design and setting </b>Cluster randomised parallel group trial among adults aged ≥16 years attending general practices close to the study coordinating centres in Southampton.<p></p> <b>Method </b>Sixteen GPs were randomised to no training, or training consisting of a brief presentation of behaviours identified from a prior study (acronym KEPe Warm: demonstrating Knowledge of the patient; Encouraging [back-channelling by saying ‘hmm’, for example]; Physically engaging [touch, gestures, slight lean]; Warm-up: cool/professional initially, warming up, avoiding distancing or non-verbal cut-offs at the end of the consultation); and encouragement to reflect on videos of their consultation. Outcomes were the Medical Interview Satisfaction Scale (MISS) mean item score (1–7) and patients’ perceptions of other domains of communication.<p></p> <b>Results </b>Intervention participants scored higher MISS overall (0.23, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.06 to 0.41), with the largest changes in the distress–relief and perceived relationship subscales. Significant improvement occurred in perceived communication/partnership (0.29, 95% CI = 0.09 to 0.49) and health promotion (0.26, 95% CI = 0.05 to 0.46). Non-significant improvements occurred in perceptions of a personal relationship, a positive approach, and understanding the effects of the illness on life.<p></p> <b>Conclusion </b>Brief training of GPs in predominantly non-verbal communication in the consultation and reflection on consultation videotapes improves patients’ perceptions of satisfaction, distress, a partnership approach, and health promotion.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mercer, Professor Stewart
Authors: Little, P., White, P., Kelly, J., Everitt, H., and Mercer, S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > General Practice and Primary Care
Journal Name:British Journal of General Practice
Publisher:Royal College of General Practitioners
ISSN (Online):1478-5242

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