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PEC Innovation






Objective: To explore qualitative patient experience comments before and after a relationship-centered communication skills training to understand patient experience, program impact, and opportunities for improvement. Methods: Qualitative patient experience evaluation data was captured from January 2016 to December 2018 for 483 health care clinicians who participated in the skills training. A random sampling of available open-ended patient comments (N = 33,223) were selected pre-training (n = 668) and post-training (n = 566). Comments were coded for valence (negative/neutral/positive), generality versus specificity, and based on 12 communication behaviors reflective of training objectives. Results: No significant difference was found in the valence of comments, or generality versus specificity of comments before and after the training. A significant decrease was present in perceived clinician concern. “Confidence in care provider” was the communication skill most frequently identified in comments both pre- and post-training. Conclusion: Perceptions of interactions largely remained the same following training. Key relationship-centered communication skills require further attention in future training efforts. Measurements of patient satisfaction and engagement may not adequately represent patient experience. Innovation: This study identified areas for improvement in the training program and offers a model for utilizing patient experience qualitative data in understanding communication training impact.


Communication skills, Patient experience, Patient-clinician relationship, Qualitative methods

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Communication Studies