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Revista médica de Chile

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MOORE, Philippa; VARGAS, Alex; NUNEZ, Salomón  and  MACCHIAVELLO, Stefano. A study of hospital complaints and the role of the doctor-patient communication. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2011, vol.139, n.7, pp.880-885. ISSN 0034-9887.

Background: Medical practice in Chile has changed dramatically over the last few years. Patients have raised their expectations and there is a growing number of complaints, and malpractice lawsuits. The doctor-patient relationship plays a fundamental role in patient satisfaction and has also been identified as an issue in most medical lawsuits. Aim: To analyze the importance of doctor-patient communication in the complaints received in a university hospital in Chile. Material and Methods: Review ofall complaints received at the office for quality of care at a university hospital. Complaints classified in delay, manners and information categories were selected for further analysis. Results: Of a total of8931 complaints registered between 2001 and 2008, 635 (19%) involved a doctor. Fifty one per cent of the latter, were related to the doctor-patient relationship. Of these, 146 cases (45%) were further classified as "Dysfunctional delivery of Information", 74 cases (23%) as "Not understanding the patient/'family's perspective", 54 cases (17%) as "Discrediting the patient or family's views" and 49 cases (15%) as "Lack of communication". Conclusions: The percentage of complaints related to communication with the doctor is high, though lower than cited in other studies. The most common complaint is the dysfunctional delivery of information.

Keywords : Communication; Patient satisfaction; Physician-patient relations; Professional impairment.

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