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How to make the medical consultation more successful from a patient's perspective? Tips for doctors and patients from lay people in the United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • J Bensing
  • M Deveugele
  • F Moretti
  • Ian Fletcher
  • C Zimmermann
  • L van Vliet
  • M van Bogaert
  • M Rimondini
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>09/2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Patient Education and Counseling
Issue number3
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)287-293
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The aim of this study is to generate empirically based ‘tips’ from lay people on how medical consultations could become more successful from a patient perspective.

258 Lay people in the United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands, distributed over 32 focus groups, were invited to formulate ‘tips’ for doctors as well as patients after rating the quality of communication from videotaped consultations and discussing their arguments in focus groups.

Tips were remarkably similar across the four countries. Most tips reflect the professional literature, such as the importance of nonverbal communication, personal attention and empathy, but also addressed issues as how to deal with new technologies and new accessibility arrangements (triage). The tips were targeted to the consultation itself, its preparation and the aftercare. Tips for doctors were mirrored in tips for patients.

Lay people seem to be competent in participating in quality-of-care debates. They are well aware of patients’ own responsibilities. Besides, they have clear opinions about novel technology and healthcare arrangements (triage).

Practice implications
Listening to patients, showing empathy and personal attention seem to have a universal value. Doctors should be trained to practice these behaviors, healthcare managers in involving patients in practice reorganisations.