A method to assess the organizing behaviors used in physicians’ counseling of standardized parents after newborn genetic screening

Authors

  • Stephanie A. Christopher Medical College of Wisconsin and Marquette University
  • Nadia Y. Ahmad Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Lisa Bradford Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Jenelle L. Collins Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Kerry Eskra Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Alison La Pean Kirschner Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Faith O. O'Tool Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Sara J. Roedl Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Michael H. Farrell Center for Patient Care and Outcomes Research

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/cam.v9i2.101

Keywords:

communication methods, newborn genetic screening, physician-patient communication, quality improvement

Abstract

Well-organized conversation can improve people’s ability to comprehend and retain information. As part of a long-term effort to adapt Quality Improvement techniques for communication, we developed an explicit criteria method to assess usage of three organizing behaviors (OBs): ‘opening behaviors’ to establish goals; ‘structuring behaviors’ to guide patients through conversation; and ‘emphasizing behaviors’ that signal a need for attention. Pairs of abstractors independently reviewed transcripts in a demonstration sample of conversations between physicians and standardized parents after newborn screening identifies carrier status for sickle cell disease. Criteria for at least one OB were identified in 50/84 transcripts (60%), including 27 with at least one opening behavior (32%), 5 with at least one structuring behavior (6%), and 38 with at least one emphasizing behavior (45%). The limited number of OBs raises concern about communication after newborn screening. Assessment and improvement of OB usage may improve understanding and allow parents to more actively participate in health care.

Author Biographies

Stephanie A. Christopher, Medical College of Wisconsin and Marquette University

Stephanie Christopher received her MA in Communication from Marquette University and is currently a Research Lab Supervisor in the Center for Patient Care and Outcomes Research at the Medical College of Wisconsin and an adjunct communication instructor at Marquette University. Her research interests include examining the barriers to effective interpersonal communication between physicians and patients.

Nadia Y. Ahmad, Medical College of Wisconsin

Nadia Ahmad received her PhD in Psychology from the University of Kansas and is currently a Research Fellow in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Her research interests include the influence of interpersonal dynamics on health care.

Lisa Bradford, Medical College of Wisconsin

Lisa Bradford received her PhD in Communication from Arizona State University and is currently a post-doctoral fellow and instructor at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Her research interests include patient-provider communication in challenging health contexts including helping moms and young families navigate the complex medical system.

Jenelle L. Collins, Medical College of Wisconsin

Jenelle Collins received her BSN-RN from the University of Kansas and is currently a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Center for Patient Care and Outcomes Research at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Her research interests include methods for improving parent education through patient-centered health communication and psychosocial outcomes related to physician communication.

Kerry Eskra, Medical College of Wisconsin

Kerry Eskra received her BBA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and recently completed her MS in rehabilitation counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research interests include the intersection of psychology and communication research.

Alison La Pean Kirschner, Medical College of Wisconsin

Alison La Pean Kirschner received her MS in genetic counseling from Northwestern University and is currently a certified genetic counselor in the Center for Patient Care and Outcomes Research at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Her research interests include newborn screening, qualitative analysis of patient interviews, and assessing psychosocial outcomes of communication and counseling.

Faith O. O'Tool, Medical College of Wisconsin

Faith O’Tool received her BS in Communication Arts from University of Wisconsin-Madison and is currently a program coordinator in the Center for Patient Care and Outcomes Research at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Her research interests include improving communication between physicians and families.

Sara J. Roedl, Medical College of Wisconsin

Sara Roedl received her PhD in Mass Communication from Southern Illinois University and is a communication researcher in the Center for Patient Care and Outcomes Research at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Her research interests include the relationship between mass media messages and public health priorities.

Michael H. Farrell, Center for Patient Care and Outcomes Research

Michael H. Farrell received his MD from St. Louis University School of Medicine and was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the University of Michigan. He is currently an Associate Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He is a primary care internist and pediatrician who has built his teaching and research career on exploring ways to improve the quality of communication between clinicians and patients.

Published

2013-05-20

How to Cite

Christopher, S. A., Ahmad, N. Y., Bradford, L., Collins, J. L., Eskra, K., La Pean Kirschner, A., O’Tool, F. O., Roedl, S. J., & Farrell, M. H. (2013). A method to assess the organizing behaviors used in physicians’ counseling of standardized parents after newborn genetic screening. Communication and Medicine, 9(2), 101–111. https://doi.org/10.1558/cam.v9i2.101

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Section

Articles