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A pilot study of observed physician–parent–child communication and child satisfaction in a gastroenterology clinic

Authors Becker TD, Lin HC, Miller VA

Received 19 April 2018

Accepted for publication 22 May 2018

Published 26 July 2018 Volume 2018:12 Pages 1327—1335


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Timothy D Becker,1 Henry C Lin,2 Victoria A Miller3

1Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA; 2Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA; 3Division of Adolescent Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Child participation in pediatric medical visits is low. In this pilot study, we sought to better understand relationships between observed communication and child-reported perceptions of communication in a clinical setting.
Materials and methods: For this cross-sectional observational study, pediatric gastroenterology appointments (n=39) were videotaped and coded to quantify various adult affective (eg, chit-chat, empathy) and facilitative (eg, asking questions, encouraging responses) behaviors toward the child, interference with child participation (eg, interrupting or ignoring child), and child verbal participation. Post-visit surveys assessed child perceptions of having voice in the clinical encounter, ease of understanding, and satisfaction with communication.
Results: Parent and provider chit-chat was associated with child-reported ease of understanding. Provider facilitation was positively associated with child participation, but affective communication strategies were not. Physician interference was negatively associated with ease of understanding but positively associated with perception of voice.
Conclusion: Facilitative communication may improve outcomes by enhancing child participation and thus exchange of medical information, whereas chit-chat appears to positively impact children’s perceptions of communication.

physician–patient communication, partnership, child participation, pediatric patient experience, child satisfaction

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