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Coding patient emotional cues and concerns in medical consultations: The Verona coding definitions of emotional sequences (VR-CoDES).

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • C Zimmermann
  • L Del Piccolo
  • J Bensing
  • S Bergvik
  • H de Haes
  • H Eide
  • Ian Fletcher
  • C Goss
  • C Heaven
  • G Humpheris
  • YM Kim
  • W Langewitz
  • L Meeuwesen
  • M Nuebling
  • M Rimondini
  • P Salmon
  • S van Dulmen
  • L Wissow
  • L Zandbelt
  • A Finset
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>02/2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Patient Education and Counseling
Issue number2
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)141-148
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


To present the Verona Coding Definitions of Emotional Sequences (VR-CoDES CC), a consensus based system for coding patient expressions of emotional distress in medical consultations, defined as Cues or Concerns.

The system was developed by an international group of communication researchers. First, consensus was reached in different steps. Second, a reliability study was conducted on 20 psychiatric consultations.

A Cue is defined as a verbal or non-verbal hint which suggests an underlying unpleasant emotion that lacks clarity. A Concern is defined as a clear and unambiguous expression of an unpleasant current or recent emotion that is explicitly verbalized with or without a stated issue of importance. The conceptual framework sets precise criteria for cues and concerns and for whom (health provider or patient) elicits the cue/concern. Inter-rater reliability proved satisfactory (agreement 81.5%, Cohen's Kappa 0.70).

The VR-CoDES CC will facilitate comparative research on provider–patient communication sequences in which patients express emotional distress.

Practice implications
The VR-CoDES CC may be used to help clinicians in recognizing or facilitating cues and concerns, thereby improving the recognition of patients’ emotional distress, the therapeutic alliance and quality of care for these patients.