Original Research

Developing a comportment and communication tool for use in hospital medicine

Abstract

BACKGROUND

An exceptional experience in a hospital is largely influenced by the quality and performance of the hospitalist physician. We set out to establish a metric that would comprehensively assess hospitalists' comportment and communication to establish norms and expectations.

METHODS

The chiefs of hospital medicine divisions at 5 hospitals were asked to identify their “most clinically excellent” hospitalists. An investigator observed each hospitalist during a routine clinical shift and recorded behaviors believed to be associated with excellent comportment and communication using the hospital medicine comportment and communication tool (HMCCOT). Content, internal structure, and relation to other variables validity evidence were established. Analysis of the data for every single patient encounter allowed for the iterative revision of the HMCCOT and the calculation of scores. The mean HMCCOT score of each provider was compared to their Press Ganey (PG) scores.

RESULTS

The mean age of the 26 participating physicians was 38 years, 13 (50%) were female, and 16 (62%) were of nonwhite race. The mean HMCCOT score was 61 (interquartile range = 37–80). HMCCOT score and PG were moderately correlated (adjusted Pearson correlation = 0.45, P = 0.047).

CONCLUSIONS

This study represents a first step to specifically characterize comportment and communication in hospital medicine. Because hospitalists spend only a small proportion of their clinical time in direct patient care, it is imperative that excellent comportment and communication be established as a goal for every encounter. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2015;11:853–858. © 2015 Society of Hospital Medicine

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