, 1995 and Stewart, 1995). Furthermore, in developing patient-centred care, clinicians are advised to attend not only to the disease, but to the patient’s experience of symptoms, the impact of the condition and what really matters for the patient (Pollock, 2001 and Walseth et al., 2011). It is imperative that healthcare professionals consider their communication skills right from the outset, as it is reported to take only 39 ms for a first impression to be made (Bar
et al., 2006) and ‘many encounters’ to change (Tongue, 2007). The early stages of the clinical encounter are also when patients present their problems to the clinician. LGK-974 nmr Heritage and Robinson (2006) introduced the term ‘problem presentation’
to describe the stage at which patients disclose information about their symptoms to the clinician. This important component is reported to be the only time in a medical encounter that patients are given the opportunity to describe their condition in their own words and address their selleck compound own personal agenda (Heritage and Robinson, 2006). When patients are given the opportunity to participate, they are more likely to work alongside the healthcare professional and have increased satisfaction with the outcome (Glueckauf, 1993 and Payton et al., 1998), with both parties sharing knowledge and power (Edwards et al., 2004). However, research has also highlighted that clinicians’ communication, and in particular, how they phrase their questions about the ‘problem presentation’, can affect patient ‘satisfaction’
(Heritage and Robinson, 2006 and Robinson and Heritage, 2006) as well as adherence to treatment (Zolnierek and Dimatteo, 2009). Therefore, the clinician’s communication skills are vital in establishing a good interpersonal relationship with patients, creating a welcoming environment, and enabling patients to freely express their issues. To date, research into how clinicians “should” open their clinical encounters is at an early stage of development very and predominantly focuses on physicians working in primary care settings (Heritage and Robinson, 2006 and Robinson and Heritage, 2006). These studies explored opening encounters using video-recorded data; however it has been reported that a camera can alter the natural flow of communication between clinicians and patients (Roberts and Bucksey, 2007). Furthermore, it is unknown how well the findings from medical encounters translate to clinical encounters involving other healthcare professions. Within physiotherapy, communication studies have tended to focus on, interactions and relationships, the content of encounters and the impact upon outcome (Roberts et al., 2013), with none specifically addressing the issue of opening clinical encounters.