Psychiatry Patient Characteristics Affect Communication with Provider

October 24, 2008

Outcomes of a computer-mediated intervention called DIALOG depend on characteristics of the particular patient.

According to study results to be published by Swedish researchers in the November issue of Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, outcomes of a computer-mediated intervention called DIALOG—that “structures communication between [psychiatry] patients and key workers during routine meetings to consistently address life domains and treatment concerns via assessment of patient satisfaction”—depend on characteristics of the particular patient. The current study adds to previous research that found the intervention to positively affect communication at one year, by determining if the ability of DIALOG to produce positive results was affected by patient baseline sociodemographic, clinical, and social characteristics.

After looking at one-year follow-up in 507 schizophrenia patients who were randomly assigned to either DIALOG intervention or standard therapy, the researchers found greater quality of life improvements in patients who had more severe negative symptoms at baseline, with those receiving intervention experiencing the greatest improvements if they “had a better initial relationship with their key worker and a shorter duration of illness.” Further, DIALOG intervention resulted in significantly greater reductions in unmet needs among those who were in competitive employment and had shorter illness duration. Better treatment satisfaction improvements were seen at follow-up with those in the intervention group if they were elderly.