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Table 2 Results of coded answers to the open-ended question concerning what the patients think it should be improved in doctor-patient communication (item 20)

From: Italian onco-haematological patients’ preferences in bad news communication: a preliminary investigation

Categories Sub-categories Description Quotations n % Cohen’s Kappa
Setting Time Patient asks for more time during medical consultation “Time devoted to the patient” (male, 63 y.o., senior high school)
“Let them have more time for encounters... unfortunately there are many sick people” (female, 46 y.o., senior high school)
21 9,6 .726
Organizationalsetting Patient complains of lack of personnel and/or referring doctor “Dealing with a different doctor during each visit does not allow to establish a relationship of knowing and reciprocal trust” (female, 36 y.o., graduate/doctorate)
“More staff would be needed to give doctors and nurses time to prolong the human relationship with patients. Healthcare workers are often overwhelmed by the amount of work they have to do” (female, 42 y.o., graduate/doctorate)
13 6 .367
Empathy Understanding Patient would like more understanding “more understanding of the patient’s reaction” (female, 58 y.o., senior high school)“more sympathy” (female, 44 y.o., senior high school) 12 5,5 .865
Humanity Patient asks for a more sensitive and human relationship with the doctors “a human relationship with the patient” (female, 33 y.o., junior high school)
“A little humanity and not being considered as a number” (female, 31 y.o., graduate/doctorate)
19 8,7 .891
Empathy Patient seeks more empathy from the doctors “Never, and I mean never, forget to be empathetic, or try to be. If we feel we are understood, we feel more comfortable, more ‘protected’” (female, 22 y.o., senior high school)
“Empathy. During the oncology treatment I met several doctors, especially in day hospital. Some of them were sensitive, others absolutely not. In an oncology ward where you are in constant contact with death, it is necessary to have more care and attention towards the patient, who is first of all a suffering person” (female, 33 y.o., graduate/doctorate)
26 11,9 .889
Engagement Participation Patient wants to take an active role in care and she/he requires a personalised approach “If the patient is prepared and wants to deeply investigate the matter, the doctor must not dismiss him with circumstantial sentences” (male, 35 y.o., graduate/doctorate)
“That even doctors need to have more faith in our information” (male, 48 y.o., senior high school)
18 8,3 .726
Information Patient seeks more information and she/he wants to be able to ask questions (i.e. about side effects, disease’s long-term consequences, etc.) “Give more information about the side effects of the drugs. It is not pleasant to discover them gradually” (female, 51 y.o., graduate/doctorate)
“Sometimes you ask questions that are obvious to them but for you patient, not having a medical degree, they are not obvious at all, and if they answer you, they do it in a very approximate way not allowing you to understand properly” (female, 25 y.o., senior high school)
20 9,2 .877
Listening Patient asks attention and to be heard “Listening, even before the cure” (female, 56 y.o., graduate/doctorate)
“Yes, listening to the patient and not considering him/her just a case” (female, 44 y.o., graduate/doctorate)
10 4,6 1.00
Language Patient asks a simple language, free of technical jargon “Transparency in speaking, even explaining things in more simple terms” (female, 29 y.o., graduate/doctorate)
“Avoiding too technical language. At the beginning, I struggled to understand what kind of disease I had” (female, 24 y.o., senior high school)
14 6,4 1.00
Openness Patient wants to know the truth “Always telling the truth, even if it is hard” (female, 37 y.o., senior high school)
“Always communicate the truth” (female, 47 y.o., senior high school)
7 3,2 1.00
No suggestion No suggestion No element is indicated to be improved and/or the doctors’ work is praised “Nothing. I was assisted in the best way. The faith in God gave me the strength to fight. After 9 years from the transplan I am fine” (male, 67 y.o., junior high school)
“In my case, I am super satisfied with my doctors, all of them exceptional, special, super skilled and humane people” (male, 61 y.o., senior high school)
43 19,7 1.00
Other Other Aspects related to two or more dimensions and/or not classifiable in the previous categories “Purtroppo da migliorare ci sarebbero tante cose...” (male, 43 y.o., junior high school)
“Unfortunately, it depends on the doctor. I was treated in a children’s hospital when I was 15 and the communication and attention were excellent. Now in adult hospitals I have found countless doctors without any tact or attention to the patient, nor kindness” (female, 35 y.o., graduate/doctorate)
15 6,9 .725