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Does patient coaching make a difference in patient-physician communication during specialist consultations? A systematic review.

Alders, I., Smits, C., Brand, P., Dulmen, S. van. Does patient coaching make a difference in patient-physician communication during specialist consultations? A systematic review. Patient Education and Counseling: 2017, 100(5), 882-896
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Aim
To systematically review the literature on the effectiveness of a patient coach intervention on patient − physician communication in specialists consultations.

Methods
PubMed, Cochrane, PsycInfo, Cinahl and Embase were searched until November 2015. Included were papers describing interventions directed at adult outpatients in secondary care with a variety of somatic diseases. Outcomes had to be measured in communication effectivity from a patient’s perspective.

Results
Seventeen publications met the inclusion criteria (involving 3787 patients), describing 13 unique interventions. Most interventions were single one-on-one sessions taking between 20 and 40 min before consultation. Research quality in ten studies was high. These studies showed significant improvement on immediate, intermediate and long term patient − physician communication.

Conclusion
We found limited evidence suggesting an improvement of patient − physician communication by having multiple patient coaching encounters during which questions are prepared and rehearsed and consultations are evaluated and reflected upon, sometimes supported by audio recording the consultation.

Practice implications
The results of this review contribute to the (re-)design of an effective model for patient coaching, a profile and training approach of patient coaches. Future research should aim at determining which patients will benefit most from coaching interventions.