Loughborough University

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Are interventions to enhance communication performance in allied health professionals effective, and how should they be delivered? Direct and indirect evidence

journal contribution
posted on 2018-04-24, 07:53 authored by Ruth ParryRuth Parry
Objective (1) To systematically review direct evidence about effects of interventions to improve communication performance amongst allied health professionals (AHPs) (2) To summarise indirect evidence pertinent to design, delivery, effects, and evaluation of such interventions. Methods (1) Systematic search and narrative review of evaluations of interventions for AHPs. (2) Systematic search and narrative summary of reviews of corresponding interventions in medicine and nursing. Results Five reports of interventions for AHPs were included. All reported positive effects of training. Strongest evidence was from two small-n within-subjects controlled studies that evaluated highly specific training for qualified therapists in brain injury rehabilitation environments. Indirect evidence from nine systematic reviews in medicine and nursing indicated positive effects of communication training. Robust designs yielded smallest effect sizes. Interventions based on strong conceptual and empirical foundations and targeting specific areas of practice appeared more effective. Strongest evidence is for performance-based training for clinicians already working with patients. Conclusion More empirical and conceptual understandings about AHPs’ communication practices are required so as to improve the design, delivery and subsequent evaluation of communication training amongst these important healthcare workers. Practice implications Preliminary and indirect evidence suggest it is possible to positively influence AHP clinicians’ performance and patients’ outcomes if training interventions are specific, founded on evidence about effective practice and delivered using practical modalities.


This work was conducted as part of a programme of research funded by a postdoctoral fellowship awarded by the National Coordinating Centre for Research Capacity Development (National Institute of Health Research) UK, fellowship number NCCRCD PDA/N&AHP/PD02/038.



  • Social Sciences


  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies

Published in

Patient Education and Counseling






186 - 195


PARRY, R., 2008. Are interventions to enhance communication performance in allied health professionals effective, and how should they be delivered? Direct and indirect evidence. Patient Education and Counseling, 73 (2), pp.186-195.


© Elsevier


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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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