What's new in healthcare communication?

What's new in healthcare communication?

Wednesday, 22 February, 2012

A novel coding scheme

A recent study (Zhou et al.) focuses on the development and validation of St Andrews Behavioural Interaction Coding Scheme (SABICS). SABICS deliberately aims on gathering both verbal and non-verbal behavioral data. To be able to test SABICS, video recordings were used to capture both verbal and non-verbal aspects of communication. Zhou et al. conclude that “Implemented easily on The Observer XT system, the scheme is capable of recoding and displaying complex interaction processes and demonstrates satisfactory inter- and intra-coder reliability”.

The Observer XT

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A development stage in which field observations and an extensive literature study were performed to select and define relevant behaviors provides a solid base for this coding scheme.

Zhou et al. is an Article in Press and will be assigned to an issue of the journal Patient Education and Counseling.

How to develop a coding scheme

Developing a relevant behavioral coding scheme is the first step in setting up research, meaning that researchers determine the significance of certain behaviors in contrast to other behaviors. Zhou et al. tell us that to come to effective communication in a clinical context, nurse behavior could include behaviors that reduce anxiety and bring about cooperation related behaviors in children. SABICS enables the inclusion of behaviors specific to a clinical context and communication content.

What is effective communication

Zhou et al. were primarily searching for a coding scheme that reflects focus on the dental staff’s encouragement- centered interaction approach. The scheme supports the effective communication in pediatric dentistry, and at the same time, enables inclusion of novel behavioral codes that are specific to a clinical context and communication content. Researchers looking into nurse-child interaction in elderly homes or doctor-child interaction in a hospital might also benefit from this novel coding scheme.

Focus on verbal and non-verbal behavior

Compared to RIAS (the widely used Roter Interaction Analysis System), Zhou et al. indicate that SABICS allows researchers to study the duration of the turn and that RIAS is mainly concerned with speech. Moreover, Zhou et al. point out that when working with SABICS, silences are coded and can thus be taken into account when reflecting on their roles in the interaction process. Often the importance of silences or hesitations in conversations are heavily underestimated.

SABICS deliberately focuses on both verbal and non-verbal behavior. The researchers explain that sequence and timing of behaviors can be analyzed using SABICS in combination with the video software system.

Clinician-child behavior in other clinical interventions

Zhou et al. are convinced that with minimal modifications, this coding scheme could be applied to the study of clinician-child behavior in other clinical situations.