Evaluation of patient-centred communication in breast clinic; how are we doing and what we need to improve?
Effective patient-centred communication is vital in rapid access breast clinics. Health care professionals (HCP) need to demonstrate focused active listening, express empathy, and understand the patient's perspective regarding the illness and various treatment choices. The communication skills that promote shared decision making empower patients to make right treatment choices for themselves. We evaluated the communication effectiveness of the HCP in the breast clinic using Medical Interview Satisfaction Survey-21 MISS 21. Methods: Fifty-one consecutive patients were invited, in this pilot phase of the study, to complete MISS-21 after consultation in a new patient rapid and follow-up breast clinic. Healthcare Professionals also rated their satisfaction with the clinical consultation on the domains of rapport, distress relief, communication comfort, compliance intent and professional behaviour. All responses were recorded on Likert score 1-7. Results: Our results suggested that patients had confidence in the clinical competence of the HCP (median 6, max 7). Most patients felt understood by their HCP (median 6, max7). The median score for explanation for the tests required and treatment need was 5.5. The overall score for distress relief and rapport were concordant (median 6) for both patients and HCP. Thirteen percent of patients felt that their consultations were rushed and 3% reported that they were given too much information. Conclusions: Overall, patients are satisfied with the consultations in the new and follow-up breast clinics. However, the art of finding the right balance of giving adequate information which is right for the patient needs development. We plan to extend this evaluation to all HCP in our department. To address the communication skills developmental needs, neurolinguistics programming may be helpful.