The effectiveness of a consultation. Compliance with initial recommendations

Cynthia L. Sears, Mary E. Charlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


To identify the attributes of an effective consultation, 202 general medicine consultations were analyzed to assess the extent of compliance with the consultant's initial recommendations. The overall compliance rate was 77 percent. Compliance decreased as the number of recommendations increased. The consultant made more recommendations among patients who had more complex and more severe illnesses. Although compliance did increase significantly in severely ill patients (p < 0.01), with each severity level, compliance was higher when five or fewer recommendations were made. In fact, compliance decreased from 96 percent in severely ill patients with small consultation lists to 79 percent in those with large lists. Compliance was greatest with recommendations involving medications and least with those requiring direct physician and nursing action. Multivariate analysis confirmed that clinical severity of the patients' illnesses and the type and number of recommendations were all predictors of compliance. To promote overall compliance, consultants should limit the total number of recommendations in their initial consultation to five or fewer, focusing on issues central to current patient care. This is especially true in severely ill patients. Since recommendations that must be implemented by physicians or nurses have a lower compliance rate, consultants must carefully follow up those requests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)870-876
Number of pages7
JournalThe American journal of medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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