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Patient coaching in specialist consultations: which patients are interested in a coach and what communication barriers do they perceive?

Alders, I., Henselmans, I., Smits, C., Visscher, T., Heijmans, M., Rademakers, J., Brand, P.L.P., Dulmen, S. van. Patient coaching in specialist consultations: which patients are interested in a coach and what communication barriers do they perceive? Patient Education and Counseling: 2019(8), 1520-1527
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Objective:
To characterize patients interested in support by a patient coach to guide them in medical specialist consultations.

Methods:
We compared 76 patients interested in a patient coach with 381 patients without such an interest, using a representative panel of patients with a chronic disease in the Netherlands. Independent variables were demographic factors, socio-economic status, perceived efficacy in patient-provider interaction, communication barriers, health literacy, (duration and type of) disease(s) and activation level.

Results:
In univariate analyses, patients who are interested in a coach were significantly older, had lower health literacy skills and less self-efficacy and, overall, experienced more communication barriers (>4), than patients without such interest (1–2 barriers). Multivariate analyses indicated three communications barriers as determinants of patient interest in a coach: feeling tense, uncertainty about own understanding, and believing that a certain topic is not part of a healthcare providers’ task.

Conclusion:
Patients interested in a coach perceive specific barriers in communicating with their medical specialist. In addition, patients who are > = 65 years, have lower health literacy and low self-efficacy may have interest in a coach.

Practice implications:
Characterizing patients interested in a patient coach facilitates identification of those who could benefit from such a coach in clinical practice.