Daily 5-minute conversations raised patient satisfaction scores, study finds

Charlottesville-based University of Virginia Health System researchers found that a five-minute conversation with a resident everyday had a significant impact on patient satisfaction. The researchers published the results of the study in Family Medicine.

Researchers examined the impact of a psychosocial intervention called BATHE — Background, Affect, Trouble, Handling and Empathy. The intervention aims to help physicians address the psychosocial issues their patients face.

For the study, researchers randomly selected family medicine patients to receive either BATHE or standard care, which is focused on treatment plans. The patients who received BATHE intervention had a daily brief conversation with a resident.

The BATHE intervention group were significantly more likely to rate their medical care as excellent and to express a high degree of satisfaction. The patients were asked to rate their medical care on a five-point scale, and the BATHE patients gave providers an average score of 4.77, compared to the standard care group, which gave providers an average score of 4.0.

Additionally, researchers found the improvement in satisfaction scores among the BATHE group was linked to the perception that the physician "showed a genuine interest in me as a person." The BATHE conversations did not significantly add to the time physicians spent with patients.

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