This qualitative study explored the communication experiences of clinical educators who provide patient education on behalf of pharmaceutical company sponsors. It investigated how these educators navigate a medical encounter within the domain of three regulatory drivers—on-label compliance, fair-balance presentation, and adverse event reporting. The study used the ecological model of communication in medical encounters and the theory of Communication Privacy Management (CPM) as the lenses for interpreting the data. The main data were telephonic interviews with twenty-six clinical educators who delivered education services for pharmaceutical companies. Member checking, in the form of three post-interview focus groups, was also used.
Seven themes emerged: (a) political/legal contexts factors greatly influenced clinical educators’ communication with patients; (b) the influence of factors within this contexts would frequently force educators to experience ethical dilemmas; (c) a new context, the disease and treatment context, emerged from the interviews as having significant influence in the conversation dynamics; (d) educators employed communication strategies to better navigate within the political/legal and disease and treatment context ecological factors; (e) educators believed they needed to establish and maintain trust throughout the engagement process for them to successfully solicit meaningful patient disclosures; (f) educators managed the information disclosed to them by patients using routinized rules as well as changing rules; and (g) educators managed multiple types of confidant roles with patients including stakeholder, deliberate, and reluctant.
A main implication for this study is that educators feel ethically and morally bound to do whatever was necessary to avoid breaching the trust they established with patients. For some, this attitude prevailed over their obligation to deliver a compliant educational engagement. Hence, pharmaceutical companies need to recognize that for many of their clinical educators, the question of whether to be compliant is not a legal or policy matter. It is a moral and ethical issue.
That being said, educators were also skilled at using communication strategies to navigate through the compliance and disease and treatment barriers that functioned as self-management barriers. Many of those skills often served to influence the way educators created privacy rules and managed privacy decisions related to their patient engagements.
|Advisor:||Bute, Jennifer J.|
|Commitee:||Matthias, Marianne S., Petronio, Sandra G., Jones, Josette|
|School:||Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis|
|School Location:||United States -- Indiana|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Communication, Pharmaceutical sciences, Health education|
|Keywords:||Ecological, Education, Health communication, Pharmaceutical, Privacy, Qualitative|
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