Health Communication Research Informs Inflammatory Bowel Disease Practice and Research: A Narrative Review

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Crohn's and Colitis 360


Background: In the absence of targeted empirical evidence on effective clinical communication in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a broad overview of existing evidence on effective communication in healthcare and available recommendations for communication in telehealth is provided and mapped onto IBD research and practice. Methods: A narrative literature review was conducted using Pubmed and Scopus databases and snowballing literature search. Results: Evidence-based relationship building strategies include communicating emotions, acknowledging and addressing patients' hesitancy, and ensuring continued support. A particular recommendation regarding telehealth interaction is to avoid long stretches of talk. Effective informational strategies include facilitating and supporting information exchange and considering patients' preferences in decision-making. In teleconsultations, clinicians should ask direct questions about patients' emotional state, clarify their understanding of patients' concerns and check patients' understanding, address at least one patient-reported outcome when discussing the recommended treatment, and shorten the consultation where possible. Strategies for maximizing effective clinical communication in the spoken communicative mode include using infographics and simple language, and assessing adherence at the beginning of the consultation. For teleconsultations, clinicians are advised to allow patients to explain the reason for their call at the beginning of the teleconsultation, probe additional concerns early and before ending the teleconsultation, and be mindful of technical issues such as voice delays. Conclusions: Use of question prompt lists, decision aids, micro-lessons, and communication training interventions for clinicians could be beneficial in IBD care. Further research into the implementation of such interventions as well as clinical communication concerns specific to IBD is warranted.

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