Training Primary Care Physicians to Employ Self-Efficacy-Enhancing Interviewing Techniques: Randomized Controlled Trial of a Standardized Patient Intervention

Anthony F Jerant, Richard L Kravitz, Daniel J Tancredi, Debora A Paterniti, Lynda White, Lynn Baker-Nauman, Dionne Evans-Dean, Chloe Villarreal, Lori Ried, Andrew Hudnut, Peter Franks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Primary care providers (PCPs) have few tools for enhancing patient self-efficacy, a key mediator of myriad health-influencing behaviors. Objective: To examine whether brief standardized patient instructor (SPI)-delivered training increases PCPs’ use of self-efficacy-enhancing interviewing techniques (SEE IT). Design: Randomized controlled trial. Participants: Fifty-two family physicians and general internists from 12 primary care offices drawn from two health systems in Northern California. Interventions: Experimental arm PCPs received training in the use of SEE IT training during three outpatient SPI visits scheduled over a 1-month period. Control arm PCPs received a single SPI visit, during which they viewed a diabetes treatment video. All intervention visits (experimental and control) were timed to last 20 min. SPIs portrayed patients struggling with self-care of depression and diabetes in the first 7 min, then delivered the appropriate intervention content during the remaining 13 min. Main Measures: The primary outcome was provider use of SEE IT (a count of ten behaviors), coded from three audio-recorded standardized patient visits at 1–3 months, again involving depression and diabetes self-care. Two five-point scales measured physician responses to training: Value (7 items: quality, helpfulness, understandability, relevance, feasibility, planned use, care impact), and Hassle (2 items: personal hassle, flow disruption). Key Results: Pre-intervention, study PCPs used a mean of 0.7 behaviors/visit, with no significant between-arm difference (P = 0.23). Post-intervention, experimental arm PCPs used more of the behaviors than controls (mean 2.7 vs. 1.0 per visit; adjusted difference 1.7, 95 % CI 1.1–2.2; P < 0.001). Experimental arm PCPs had higher training Value scores than controls (mean difference 1.05, 95 % CI 0.68–1.42; P < 0.001), and similarly low Hassle scores. Conclusions: Primary care physicians receiving brief SPI-delivered training increased their use of SEE IT and found the training to be of value. Whether patients visiting SEE IT-trained physicians experience improved health behaviors and outcomes warrants study. Identifier: NCT01618552

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)716-722
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of General Internal Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • continuing professional development
  • health behavior
  • patient engagement
  • physician behavior
  • primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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