Effective communication is associated with adherence to healthy habits. This study sought factors associated with communication effectiveness and satisfaction with musculoskeletal specialty care in order to inform efforts to improve communication effectiveness using measurement, feedback, and coaching. After a new or return upper extremity specialist visit, 146 adult patients completed a survey recording demographics, measures of catastrophic thinking in response to nociception, symptoms of depression, and symptoms of anxiety, and they rated communication effectiveness (5 questions answered on a 4-point Likert scale) and satisfaction with the visit (slider with anchors of 0 and 100). Patients also provided text answers to 4 questions addressing strengths and opportunities for improved communication. We assessed the association of experience measures (communication and overall satisfaction) with patient characteristics. Ratings of “clinician listens carefully” were higher in older patients. Higher rating of "clinician explains in an understandable way" was associated with fewer symptoms of depression. Higher rating of "clinician showed respect" was associated with fewer symptoms of depression and less catastrophic thinking. Higher rating of "clinician used models" was associated with older age. Men had higher overall satisfaction scores. In Factor analysis, the scree plot of eigenvalues showed that the 5 communication questions and the single satisfaction question load onto a single factor. The finding that age and psychological factors are associated with patient experience – which seems to reduce statistically to a single underlying construct – emphasizes a potential to attend to mental health in efforts to improve patient experience.

Experience Framework

This article is associated with the Policy & Measurement lens of The Beryl Institute Experience Framework. (http://bit.ly/ExperienceFramework)

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