Patients With Advanced Cancer Prefer Face-to-Face Communication With Clinicians

Share this content:
Clinicians that utilize face-to-face consultation are viewed as more compassionate, data indicates.
Clinicians that utilize face-to-face consultation are viewed as more compassionate, data indicates.

Physicians who communicated face-to-face with their patients without the use of computers were not only seen as being more compassionate, professional, and having better communication skills, they were also preferred as providers, according to study results presented at the 2017 Palliative and Supportive Care in Oncology Symposium.

Electronic health records (EHR) are being utilized with increased frequency in health care, but the effect using computers during patient consultations may have on communication has not been explored. 

For this study 4 videos were prepared; 2 videos depicted different doctors in face-to-face interaction, and 2 depicted the doctors in a consultation with a computer. Researchers randomly assigned 120 patients with advanced cancer to watch 2 videos of patient-physician interactions. Both sets of videos had an identical script.

Upon completing the first video, patients were asked to complete a questionnaire grading the physician's professionalism (0=poor, 20=very good), compassion (0=best, 50=worst), and communication (0=poor, 70=excellent). The patients then watched a second video of the topic (face-to-face or computer) that they did not previously see by the different actor-doctor. After the second video, patients were asked to rate which physician they would prefer.


Patients rated the face-to-face consultation compared with using the computer as being more professional (median 19 vs 14, respectively; P =.013), compassionate (median 9 vs 20; P =.0003), and communicative (median 65 vs 54; P =.0001).

After completing the second video, 72% (86) of patients reported preferring face-to-face communication.

The authors noted that the “study answers questions about patients' perceptions, but not how to address the issue of computer use in the exam room.”

Reference

Haider A, Cochien-Tanco K, Epner M, et al. Effects of examination room computer on cancer patients perception of physician's compassion, communication skills, and professionalism: a randomized clinical trial. Poster presentation at: 2017 Palliative and Supportive Care in Oncology Symposium; October 27-28, 2017; San Diego, CA. Abstract 26. 

You must be a registered member of ONA to post a comment.

Sign Up for Free e-newsletters

Regimen and Drug Listings

GET FULL LISTINGS OF TREATMENT Regimens and Drug INFORMATION

Bone Cancer Regimens Drugs
Brain Cancer Regimens Drugs
Breast Cancer Regimens Drugs
Endocrine Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gastrointestinal Cancer Regimens Drugs
Genitourinary Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gynecologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Head and Neck Cancer Regimens Drugs
Hematologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Lung Cancer Regimens Drugs
Other Cancers Regimens
Rare Cancers Regimens
Skin Cancer Regimens Drugs