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Twenty minutes, tops. That’s the average interaction between doctor & patient in a typical office visit. But what if it’s not typical because the patient has just been diagnosed with a disease? Discussions regarding diagnosis, treatment, possible medication and recommendations may occur, but it’s hard to understand what is resonating with patients who are given so much information in such a short period.
We know gaps in communication occur and effective patient-physician communication is often linked to adherence. In fact, our study on adherence last year found that at the point of diagnosis, patients frequently leave a physician’s office not knowing what condition the doctor diagnosed, not clear on what they should do, and not even knowing if they’ve gotten a prescription. Research has shown that comprehension, retention and action can improve through the use of visual stimuli in physician-patient interaction.[i],[ii],[iii] We’ve also found visual stimuli to be highly effective when uncovering patient and practitioner insights. Using images as catalysts helps engage study participants and can also help them open up around a sensitive topic to further identify what's driving behavior and emotions around treatment.
For the purposes of our Communication Gaps study, we partnered with one of the top 25 pharmaceutical companies to conduct qual-quant research with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients and health care providers to find out how both sides viewed their relationship and what communication gaps exist before diagnosis, at diagnosis and as treatment continues.
The online methodology integrated interactive exercises - including a retrospective diary, projective thought bubbles and a collage-building tool - with standard measures in order to explore this relationship. More specifically, we looked at what doctors believed they were communicating effectively and what information patients were really retaining. We asked about experiences with COPD, the point of diagnosis, experiences with their PCPs, and communication around medication. For more details, access our Communication Gaps eBook immediately or click here to continue reading.