Front-line health care professionals communication skills evaluated by the patient: Preliminary data

Marinella Sommaruga, Lisa Bianchi, Paola Gremigni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Communication is central to all aspects of health care. The purpose of this study is to assess outpatients' satisfaction with front-line health care professionals' communication ability as an important indicator of quality of care from a patient's perspective. Methods: Two hundred and forty four outpatients (50% males, mean aged 54.34 ■ 14 years) making visits to the Maugeri Institute were asked to evaluate the communication skills of 10 front-line health care professionals using the HCCQ, a 14-item, 5-response option questionnaire. Of all the participants 78 outpatients (Group A) were asked to complete the HCCQ by two psychologists, while 166 outpatients (Group B) were asked to fill in the HCCQ by the front-line professionals. All the questionnaires were anonymous. Results: Factor analysis of the HCCQ identified four factors: 1. Patient-centered problem-solving (6 items, range 6-30, mean 22.22 ± 3.65); 2. Effective communication skills (5 items, range 5-25, mean 18.95 ± 3.20); 3. Hostility (3 items, range 3-15, mean 3.92 ± 1.95), and 4. Non-verbal (face) communication (2 items, range 2-10, mean 6.89 ± 1.45). The HCCQ showed content validity, established beyond consensus of three experts, and acceptable reliability (Cronbach's ∝ ranging from 0.68 to 0.86; total/item correlations from 0.70 to 0.88). No differences were found on HCCQ scores as related to age, sex and educational level of patients. Significative differences were found in factor 4 (p = 0.005) between Group A (mean 6.45 ± 1.46) and Group B (mean 7.09 ± 1.41). It suggests that involving, in the assessment procedure, hospital personnel other than the professionals who are the target of patient's evaluation may lead to more reliable measures. Conclusions: The HCCQ appears to be a reliable measure of patient satisfaction with health care communicative behaviours. It allows to identify specific aspects that are evaluated as less satisfying by the patients in order to plan effective communication training for health care professionals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-162
Number of pages2
JournalPsychology and Health
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychology(all)


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