Palo Alto Medical Foundation Newsroom

PAMF Research Institute Shares Findings on Open Communication Study

Open Communication Model Increases Patient Engagement & Satisfaction

A recent Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI) study looked at ways to improve patient-physician communication through a cluster randomized controlled trial of four primary care clinics at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF). Funding for the study was provided by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI),

Researchers tested two approaches:

The first approach, called “Open Communication,” was co-developed by the PAMF Research Institute team with patients, physicians and clinic staff. It contained three components:

    1. A Visit Companion booklet for patients write down the issues or questions that matter to them most, and bring to their doctor visit
    2. A short animated video that encourages patients and physicians to communicate openly
    3. Physician communication coaching from a standardized patient coach on how to use the booklet with their patients

The second approach was based on the AskShareKnow of the ASK Patient-Clinician Communication Model which prompts patients to ask their doctor three questions about their options and risks.

Study results indicate that the Open Communication intervention increased patient-reported engagement in care and improved patient satisfaction, whereas the ASK Patient-Clinician Communication approach improved patient reported engagement in care only.

“It can be overwhelming for patients to remember everything they want to ask their doctor during their visit,” said PAMF Research Institute Principal Investigator Ming Tai-Seale, Ph.D., MPH. “The Visit Companion booklet helps the patient remember what they want to discuss most with their doctor.”

The study found that when patients are more engaged in their care, and when physicians have practiced their communication with the patient coach, both patient satisfaction and experience and patient satisfaction significantly improved. “It is important to create a friendly, comfortable environment for our patients, and a key component to developing that relationship is making sure what matters most to the patient is addressed during the visit, and ensuring that the patient and physician are on the same page before the end visit ends,” said Dr. Tai-Seale.

The PAMF Research Institute is partnering with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s Quality Improvement Steering Committee to disseminate the successful approaches to Palo Alto Medical Foundation providers, patients and others.

Watch the study in action