We appreciate the correspondence from Kirwan and Bains and Egede. Together, their comments highlight the complex and multifaceted nature of patient-physician communication. Kirwan highlights several areas of paramount importance in assessing communication. We agree that many factors contribute to the “poor interpersonal performance” of physicians such as time constraints and systematic processes and agree that future research should aim to identify and remedy these while at the same time empowering patients to take more active roles in their own health care. Whether these interventions would decrease the readmission rate is a question we could not adequately examine because of the sample size of our study.1
Olson DP, Windish DM. Mediators of Patient-Physician Communication Discrepancies—Reply. Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(5):475–476. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.52
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