Do internal medicine interns practice etiquette-based communication? A critical look at the inpatient encounter

Lauren Block, Lindsey Hutzler, Robert Habicht, Albert W. Wu, Sanjay V. Desai, Kathryn Novello Silva, Timothy Niessen, Nora Oliver, Leonard Feldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Etiquette-based communication may improve the inpatient experience but is not universally practiced. We sought to determine the extent to which internal medicine interns practice behaviors that characterize etiquette-based medicine. Trained observers evaluated the use of 5 key communication strategies by internal medicine interns during inpatient clinical encounters: introducing one's self, explaining one's role in the patient's care, touching the patient, asking open-ended questions, and sitting down with the patient. Participants at 1 site then completed a survey estimating how frequently they performed each of the observed behaviors. A convenience sample of 29 interns was observed on a total of 732 patient encounters. Overall, interns introduced themselves 40% of the time and explained their role 37% of the time. Interns touched patients on 65% of visits, asked open-ended questions on 75% of visits, and sat down with patients during 9% of visits. Interns at 1 site estimated introducing themselves and their role and sitting with patients significantly more frequently than was observed (80% vs 40%, P<0.01; 80% vs 37%, P<0.01; and 58% vs 9%, P<0.01, respectively). Resident physicians introduced themselves to patients, explained their role, and sat down with patients infrequently during observed inpatient encounters. Residents surveyed tended to overestimate their own practice of etiquette-based medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)631-634
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of hospital medicine
Volume8
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Internal Medicine
  • Fundamentals and skills
  • Health Policy
  • Care Planning
  • Assessment and Diagnosis

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