Background: The way doctors communicate with their patients has basic effects on patient outcomes. The aim of this study was to use a rating scale based on Calgary-Cambridge guide for evaluating doctor and patient communication skills.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional performance-based assessment study, done during 2016-2017 in Shiraz Medical School. This project was performed on 125 last year medical students (Interns). An observational rating scale was used based on Calgary-Cambridge guide to medical interview. The validity and reliability of the rating scale was determined in our previous study. The researcher observed the interns’ behavior and scored the scale based on the performance of each intern. The scores of each item in the rating scale were from 1 (very weak) to 5 (excellent).
Results: Of the 128 interns who were included in the study, 81 (63%) were women and 47 (37%) were men. The general communication skill score between doctors and patients in this study was 3.18 out of 5. The level of communication skills of the female interns was higher than the male interns. This difference was statistically significant (P<0001). The highest average communication skill between the doctor and the patient was in the ward with low crowding. This difference was statistically significant (P<0001).
Discussion: The mean communication skills score in this study showed that communication skills training was insufficient and should be emphasized more. Medical students’ preparation in communication skills must put emphasis on identifying opportunities to advance communication skills that improve their future patient experience. It is necessary to have emphasis on communication skills training in the core curriculum.