LeadinCare: A Qualitative Informed Digital Training Platform Development to Increase Physicians’ Soft Communication Skills After COVID-19

Vasilis S. Vasiliou, Issari Philia, Constantina Drosatou, Efi Mitsi, Ioannis Tsakonas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The post-COVID-19 pandemic era has placed new demands on physicians. One of these demands is the need to use targeted knowledge and soft communication skills, to address the psychosocial problems (e.g. vaccine hesitancy, fears) of individuals with Chronic Physical Illnesses (CPIs). Focusing on training physicians in targeted soft communication skills can help health care systems to address psychosocial-type problems. Yet, such training programs are rarely implemented, effectively.

This study aimed to (a) understand physicians’ implementation challenges when using soft communication skills during the COVID-19 pandemic; (b) identify beliefs, barriers, and facilitators that can influence physicians’ behaviours to use soft communication skills; and (c) inform the content of the LeadinCare; a new digital training platform, designed to improve physicians’ soft communication skills, by leveraging the TDF Theoretical Domain Framework (TDF).

We conducted 14 in-depth semi-structured interviews with physicians in Greece, supporting non-COVID-19 cases with CPIs. We analyzed their data using inductive and deductive approaches.

Physicians highlighted time, inability to see patients in person, absence of space for non-COVID-19 cases, and poor organizational procedures as barriers to using soft communication skills. Five TDF domains (beliefs) were identified as the most salient to inform the LeadinCare platform: (1) practical and well-organized knowledge; (2) skills that support patients and their relatives; (3) physicians’ beliefs about capabilities to use the skills; (4) beliefs about consequences of using the skills (job satisfaction); and (5) the use of digital, interactive, and on-demand platforms (environmental context & resources). We mapped the domains in six narrative-based practices that informed the content of the LeadinCare.

Physicians need skills that go beyond talking and towards cultivating resilience and flexibility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-54
JournalPsychology, Health and Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2023


  • soft communication skills
  • covid-19
  • theoretical domain framework
  • qualitative study
  • implementation science
  • inductive and deductive analyses

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