Using the Communication Assessment Tool (CAT) to Assess Communication Skills of Family Medicine Residents by Myerholtz, Simons, Felix, Nguyen, Brennan, Rivera-Tovar, Martin, Hepworth and Makoul

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  • 1. 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.
  • 2. 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.
  • 3. Individualized Resident Sample Report
  • 4. 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)
  • 5. 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
  • 6. Scoring:
    Mean ratings
    By item
    Percentage of “Excellent” ratings
    By Item
  • 7. Demographic Characteristics of Residents
  • 8. 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
  • 9. 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
  • 10. Native Language
    p = .06
  • 11. Gender
    p = .81
  • 12. Limitations
    Sample = Convenience sample of volunteering programs
    Variability in the number of surveys collected per resident
  • 13. 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
  • 14. 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.