Physician scores on a national clinical skills examination as predictors of complaints to medical regulatory authorities.
Poor physician-patient communication has been implicated as a factor in malpractice lawsuits. This Canadian study sought to characterize the effect of communication skills at the individual physician level, by linking scores on a standardized clinical skills examination to complaints filed by patients. Lower communication scores were significantly associated with future patient complaints, especially complaints relating specifically to poor communication. A prior commentary discussed ways of identifying problem physicians.