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Using the Communication Assessment Tool (CAT) to Assess Communication Skills ofFamily Medicine Residents Linda Myerholtz, Ph.D., Lynn Simons , Psy.D. , Sumi Felix, M.D., Tuan Nguyen, M.D. , Julie Brennan, Ph.D., Ana Rivera-Tovar, Ph.D., Pat Martin, PCC, Jeri Hepworth, Ph.D., Gregory Makoul, Ph.D.
CAT 14-item patient satisfaction survey Physician interpersonal and communication skills Development based on sound psychometric methods 5-point rating scale: 1 = poor 2 = fair 3 = good 4 = very good 5 = excellent Paper and pencil, phone, internet administration Makoul G, Krupat E, Chang C. Measuring patient views of physician communication skills: Development and testing of the Communication Assessment Tool. Patient Educ Couns 2007; 67:333-342.
Objectives Gather benchmarking data for the use of the CAT in Family Medicine residency programs Examine differences based on: Year in training Native language of the resident (native English speaking vs. non-native English speaking) Gender
Sample & Methods Six Family Medicine residency programs Midwest & East coast Urban, suburban, rural communities 13-38 residents per program 127 residents Data Collection: Nov 2008- Dec 2008 Paper and pencil version of the CAT 1,880 complete/useable surveys
Scoring: Mean ratings Overall By item Percentage of “Excellent” ratings Overall By Item
Results Overall mean percent “excellent” = 69.7% (SD = 40.4) Items rated most frequently as “excellent” Paid attention to me (73.6%) Treated me with respect (72.8%) Showed care and concern (72.6%) Items rated least frequently as “excellent” Encouraged me to ask questions (63.2%) Involved me in decisions (64.9%) Consistent with Makoul et al.’s findings for practicing physicians
Training Year Overall p = .015 PGY 1 vs. PGY 2 p =.018 ; PGY 1 vs. PGY 3 = p =.004 ; PGY 2 vs. PGY 3 = p = .55
Limitations Sample = Convenience sample of volunteering programs Variability in the number of surveys collected per resident
Advantages Measures patient’s perspective User friendly administration & scoring Provides empirical measure of core ACGME competency Differentiates between residents Easy to track changes over time Benchmark data now available
Lessons Learned & Future Needs Increase sample sizes Evaluate changes over time Consider efficacy of a minimum passing score 58% has been recommended2 Continue to expand benchmarking data 2Wayne D, Cohen E, Makoul G, McGaghie W. The impact of judge selection on standard setting for a patient survey of physician communication skills. Acad Med 2008; 83: S17-20.