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The State of Communication Education in Family Medicine Residencies.

Fam Med; 48(6): 445-51, 2016 Jun.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27272421


Communication skills are essential to medical training and have lasting effects on patient satisfaction and adherence rates. However, relatively little is reported in the literature identifying how communication is taught in the context of residency education. Our goal was to determine current practices in communication curricula across family medicine residency programs.


Behavioral scientists and program directors in US family medicine residencies were surveyed via email and professional organization listservs. Questions included whether programs use a standardized communication model, methods used for teaching communication, hours devoted to teaching communication, as well as strengths and areas for improvement in their program. Analysis identified response frequencies and ranges complemented by analysis of narrative comments.


A total of 204 programs out of 458 family medicine residency training sites responded (45%), with 48 out of 50 US states represented. The majority of respondents were behavioral scientists. Seventy-five percent of programs identified using a standard communication model; Mauksch's patient-centered observation model (34%) was most often used. Training programs generally dedicated more time to experiential teaching methods (video review, work with simulated patients, role plays, small groups, and direct observation of patient encounters) than to lectures (62% of time and 24% of time, respectively). The amount of time dedicated to communication education varied across programs (average of 25 hours per year). Respondent comments suggest that time dedicated to communication education and having a formal curriculum in place are most valued by educators.


This study provides a picture of how communication skills teaching is conducted in US family medicine residency programs. These findings can provide a comparative reference and rationale for residency programs seeking to evaluate their current approaches to communication skills teaching and develop new or enhanced curricula.