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Analyzing Doctor-Patient Communication

Published: 7/12/2019

“Existing data sources such as patient feedback, can help us understand the patient’s perspective and provide valuable learning insights.”

Dr Khoo Hwee Sing, LearniNHG May/Jun 2019
Senior Research Analyst, HOMER

To enhance patient-doctor communication, our team from HOMER worked together with clinicians from Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) to develop a communications training module to equip our junior doctors with knowledge about communication lapses that may occur during patient consultations. The study team, comprising Dr Janine Kee (Consultant, Psychological Medicine, TTSH), Dr Mervyn Koh (Head of Department, Palliative Medicine, TTSH), Dr Khoo Hwee Sing (Senior Research Analyst, HOMER), and Mr Issac Lim (Head, HOMER) analysed unsolicited patient feedback where themes associated with junior doctors' communication challenges were identified using qualitative content analysis.

Case scenarios were designed based on the identified themes (non-verbal, verbal, content, and perception of attitudes) and incorporated into the TTSH Postgraduate Year One (PGY1) training curriculum where incoming PGY1s practiced the scenarios with their peers and standardized patients, monitored by clinician communication experts. The junior doctors reported an increase in their level of self-competence for all communication aspects immediately receiving the training, and four months after going through their first rotations as doctors.

patient complaints_sy edit.png

Download our publication here:

Kee, J. W. Y., Khoo, H. S., Lim, I., & Koh, M. Y. H. (2018). Communication Skills in Patient-Doctor Interactions:Learning from Patient Complaints. Health Professions Education.

Visit for a feature on this study in the May/June 2019 issue of LearniNHG


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