The Three Consultation Models

Consultation Models




Safety constitutes a fundamental aspect in the healthcare sector. The importance of safety is particularly critical with reference to prescribing by medical trainees and non-medical prescribers. According to Nuttall and Howard (2011), effective communication between the medical practitioner and patient is one of the essential elements that promote safety in healthcare. This arises from the fact that the communication between the patient and doctor improves the efficacy with which the doctor diagnoses the patients’ problem (Charlton 2007). Therefore, medical practitioners are able to administer the correct treatment and medication. On the basis of this aspect, the importance of establishing effective consultation between medical practitioners and patients cannot be underestimated. There are different consultation models that have been developed in the quest to promote safety. This paper entails a critical analysis on three consultation model that include the three function model, BARD model and Calgary Cambridge model.

Analysis of consultation model

 The three function model is founded on three main dimensions that include data gathering, understanding the patient’s emotions and influencing patient behaviour. The rationale of data gathering is to develop comprehensive and accurate information related to the patient’s problem. The emotions dimension is concerned with establishing a positive rapport between the practitioner and the patient.  According to Charlton (2007), the emotion component underlines the significance of understanding the patient’s emotions in order to establish a sustainable relationship. Thus, the emotion component encourages application of empathy, which is essential in building relationship. Conversely, education and motivation dimension emphasises on assisting patients develop a shared understanding of the problem.

The BARD model is concerned with establishing a relationship between the general practitioner and the patient. The model proposes that the efficacy with which practitioners engage in consultation is influenced by their personality and past experience with the practitioner. The model hypothesises on the significance of ensuring that the practitioners’ behaviour and personality does not negatively influence consultation. In line with this aspect, the model emphasises that it is essential for practitioners to establish and maintain effective dialogue in order to positively influence the patient’s behaviour (McEwen & Harris 2010).

The Calgary Cambridge model is comprised of five main stages that include initiating the session, gathering the necessary data, undertaking physical examination, explanation and planning, and closing the session (McEwen & Harris 2010).  Operationalisation of these stages makes Calgary Cambridge model to be an evidence-based approach to consultation. Moreover, the model further emphasises on the importance of developing the requisite communication skills in order to successfully undertake consultation.

Despite the effectiveness of the three models in promoting consultation between the practitioner and the patient, the Calgary Cambridge model is the most appropriate. This is evidenced by a number of aspects. First, the model takes into account the disease and illness frameworks, which makes it to be both patient and doctor centred (Nuttall 7 Howard 2011). Additionally, the Calgary Cambridge model is the only evidence-based model. This aspect arises from the fact that the model is operationalised through a structured approach. Consequently, its application increases the likelihood of healthcare practitioners undertaking the requisite action hence increasing safety.


Effective application of consultation model improves the efficacy with which medical practitioners offer healthcare services hence increasing safety.




Charlton, R 2007, Learning to consult, Radcliffe Publishing, Seattle.

McEwen, A & Harris, G 2010, Communication; fundamental skills. [Online]. Available at:  <https://www.mheducation.co.uk/openup/chapters/9780335237487.pdf> (Accessed July 7, 2016)

Nuttall, D & Howard, J 2011, The textbook of non-medical prescribing, John Wiley & Sons, New York.

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