Posted from archive: 10.22.2013 | by AMRA

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Can mindfulness indeed improve the quality of clinician-patient interactions? Beach et al. [Annals of Family Medicine] audiotaped clinician-patient interactions between 45 physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants and 437 HIV-positive patients. Taped interactions were coded for content, and analyzed for how patient, centered, as opposed to clinician-centered, the interactions were.

Patient-centered interactions included activities such as rapport building, discussing psychosocial/ lifestyle issues and patient-initiated questions, and focusing on emotions, as opposed to interactions like clinician, initiated biomedical questions and directive statements. The research team also measured how mindful the caregivers were based on their self, reports on the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), and analyzed the associations between clinician mindfulness and the quality of clinician, patient interactions.

When highly mindful clinicians (the MAAS upper tertile) were compared with less mindful clinicians (the MAAS lower tertile), mindful clinicians’ interactions were more patient, centered, with substantially more rapport building and psychosocial focus. Mindful clinicians met with their patients longer (an extra 5.8 minutes on average), exhibited more positive emotional tone, and were rated as more effective communicators by their patients. Patients were also more satisfied with the overall care that these more mindful clinicians provided.

Reference:

Beach, M. C., Roter, D., Korthuis, P. T., Epstein, R. M., Sharp, V., Ratanawongsa, N., . . . Moore, R. D. (2013). A multicenter study of physician mindfulness and health care quality. The Annals of Family Medicine, 11(5): 421-428. [PMID: 24019273]

[Link to abstract]