The authors explored the relationship between critical elements of medication management appointments (appointment length, patient-centered talk, and positive nonverbal affect among providers) and patient appointment adherence.
The authors used an exploratory, cross-sectional design employing quantitative analysis of 83 unique audio recordings of split treatment medication management appointments for 46 African-American and 37 white patients with 24 psychiatrists at four ambulatory mental health clinics. All patients had a diagnosis of depression. Data collected included demographic information; Patient Health Questionnaire–9 scores for depression severity; psychiatrist verbal and nonverbal communication behaviors during medication management appointments, identified by the Roter Interaction Analysis System during analysis of audio recordings; and appointment adherence. Bivariate analyses were employed to identify covariates that might influence appointment adherence. Generalized estimating equations (GEEs) were employed to assess the relationship between appointment length, psychiatrist patient-centered talk, and positive voice tone ratings and patient appointment adherence, while adjusting for covariates and the clustering of observations within psychiatrists. Wald chi square analyses were used to test whether all or some variables significantly influenced appointment adherence.
GEE revealed a significant relationship between positive voice tone ratings and appointment adherence (p=.03). Chi square analyses confirmed the hypothesis of a positive and significant relationship between appointment adherence and positive voice tone ratings (p=.03) but not longer visit length and more patient-centered communication.
The nonverbal conveyance of positive affect was associated with greater adherence to medication management appointments by depressed patients. These findings potentially have important implications for communication skills training and adherence research.