Health communication research informs inflammatory bowel disease practice and research: a narrative review

Neda Karimi*, Alison Rotha Moore, Annabelle Lukin, Susan J. Connor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND: In the absence of targeted empirical evidence on effective clinical communication in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a broad overview of existing evidence on effective communication in healthcare and available recommendations for communication in telehealth is provided and mapped onto IBD research and practice.

METHODS: A narrative literature review was conducted using Pubmed and Scopus databases and snowballing literature search.

RESULTS: Evidence-based relationship building strategies include communicating emotions, acknowledging and addressing patients' hesitancy, and ensuring continued support. A particular recommendation regarding telehealth interaction is to avoid long stretches of talk. Effective informational strategies include facilitating and supporting information exchange and considering patients' preferences in decision-making. In teleconsultations, clinicians should ask direct questions about patients' emotional state, clarify their understanding of patients' concerns and check patients' understanding, address at least one patient-reported outcome when discussing the recommended treatment, and shorten the consultation where possible. Strategies for maximizing effective clinical communication in the spoken communicative mode include using infographics and simple language, and assessing adherence at the beginning of the consultation. For teleconsultations, clinicians are advised to allow patients to explain the reason for their call at the beginning of the teleconsultation, probe additional concerns early and before ending the teleconsultation, and be mindful of technical issues such as voice delays.

CONCLUSIONS: Use of question prompt lists, decision aids, micro-lessons, and communication training interventions for clinicians could be beneficial in IBD care. Further research into the implementation of such interventions as well as clinical communication concerns specific to IBD is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberotad021
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalCrohn's and Colitis 360
Issue number3
Early online date21 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2023. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • clinical communication
  • doctor-patient relationship
  • patient involvement
  • disease outcomes
  • telehealth


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