Research

The impact of communications skills

Our Communication Skills Program has a history of research focused on the measurement, dynamics, challenges and impact of communication skills in medical practice and training. Our goal is to better understand the influence of communication skills training at Dalhousie University on medical learners and physicians.

Our findings enable us to continually tweak and enhance the delivery of this program to improve medical learners' competency in patient-doctor communication, which will ultimately have a positive effect on patient care.

Research evidence reveals that good patient-doctor communication positively influences:

  • patient recall and understanding
  • patient adherence
  • symptom resolution and physiological outcomes
  • patient and physician satisfaction
  • a reduction in malpractice claims

Research studies currently being conducted include:

  • Exploring Language for Comunication Competency in Choosing Wisefly Canada (MacLeod T, LeBlanc C, Bonang L, MacLeod H -- Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine Living Laboratory Medical Education Research Fund award, 2017-2020).
  • Teaching and Assessing the Communication Role in the Postgraduate Clinical Environment at Dalhousie  (Finkle, N, Shearer C, Evans J -- Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine Living Laboratory Medical Education Research Fund award, 2015-2016).
  • Enhancing and Assessing the Effectiveness of PIER 2 Communication Skills Training on Explanation, Planning and Shared Decision-making in the Medical Interview (Evans J, MacLeod H, Wright S, Field S  -- Faculty of Medicine Living Laboratory Medical Education Research Fund award, 2015).
  • Teaching and Learning of Empathy in Undergraduate Medical Education (Mann K, Sargeant J, Evans J, Muir J, Stephenson J -- Faculty of Medicine Living Laboratory Medical Education Research Fund award, 2014). 
  • Becoming a Doctor and Learning How to Communicate with Patients: Medical Students' Perceptions of Their Communication Skills Training (Evans J, MacLeod H, Muir J --Faculty of Medicine Living Laboratory Medical Education Research Fund award, 2014).
  • Faculty Perspectives on the Experience of Teaching Communication Skills in the Skilled Clinician Unit for First Year Medical Students (Evans J, Muir J, MacLeod H -- Unfunded research, 2014-2015).
  • The Medical Resident: Exploring Communication Dynamics Between Residents, Attending Physician and Nurse (Evans J, Simpson D, MacLeod H -- Dalhousie Division of Medical Education Research and Development Fund grant, 2013).