Verbal response mode profiles of patients and physicians in medical screening interviews

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The medical importance of the patient-physician relationship is widely acknowledged, but research on its effects has been hampered by the lack of a method to quantify its clinically relevant features. In this study a new method of coding verbal interaction was applied to 52 interviews with adults in a general medical screening clinic. “Average interaction profiles” for patients and for physicians in the medical history, physical examination, and conclusion segments of the interviews provided detailed descriptions of the relationship that appear to be accurate and coincide with descriptions derived from clinical experience, textbooks, and other studies. The profiles yield quantitative indexes of such crucial aspects of the relationship as the manner in which patients give a history and physicians trasmit information to patients.

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