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Doctor-Patient Communication

Full Title : Doctor Patent Communication in Outpatient Clinics in Brunei

Project Number :

Start Date : January 2014

End Date : December 2016

Project leader : James McLellan

Team members : Hjh Dayang Fatimah Hj Awang Chuchu, Fazean Irdayati (IHS), Hashmet Parveen Ghouse(IHS)

Brief Outline

This collaborative team research project aims to investigate patterns of communication between doctors and patients in initial outpatient consultation interviews. The approach and methods are primarily qualitative: observations and interviews with doctors, patients, and nurses. In the Brunei healthcare context, doctors and their patients may not necessarily have equal proficiency in either Malay or English. Hence a process of language choice negotiation may have to take place prior to enquiries about the patient’s presenting complaint. This may result in a nurse, or a friend or relative of the patient having to serve as interpreter, with consequent risks of miscommunication. No comparable research has been conducted in Brunei. Aside from language choice, findings are also expected to include analysis of doctors’ strategies for dealing with misunderstanding on the part of patients, e.g. rephrasing questions and explaining diagnosis and treatment. In the wider context of Global Health Research, this project is seen as being the beginning of an international project collecting and analyzing doctor-patient communication data from a plurality of contexts in which doctors and patients do not share the same first language.