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Study Assesses New Communication Techniques Designed to Improve Dialogue About Migraine Between Healthcare Professionals and Patients

Results Suggest When Patients are Asked Open-Ended Questions about Migraine, They Share Crucial Information that Results in Better Treatment Decisions

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif., February 14, 2007 /PRNewswire/ -- Phase II results of a study designed to improve communication about migraine illustrated that when healthcare professionals ask the right questions, they learn crucial information about how migraines affect their patients' daily activities, both during and between attacks. This information can help clinicians make more informed treatment decisions, and improve both patient and healthcare professional satisfaction without increasing the length of the office visit. Study data were presented this week at the Diamond Headache Clinic Research and Education Foundation's 20th Annual "Practicing Physician's Approach to the Difficult Headache Patient" conference.

Sponsored by Ortho-McNeil Neurologics, phase I of the American Migraine Communications Study (AMCS) identified a significant need for improved communication between patients suffering from migraine and healthcare professionals. The objective of the study's second phase was to assess the effectiveness of new communication techniques and their ability to spark dialogue about how migraines impact patients' lives, even when they are not suffering an attack.

"When we first spoke to healthcare professionals about their communication habits with patients, the majority said they did not ask open-ended questions because quite frankly they feared it would be extremely time consuming," said Richard Lipton, M.D., study author and director of the Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

"However, by using the new approaches proposed in the AMCS II study, healthcare professionals felt they learned valuable additional information about the full impact of migraines on patient lives, in approximately the same visit length."

Detailed Study Findings

AMCS II observed eight primary care professionals, five neurologists and two nurse practicioners interacting with 66 migraine patients during regularly scheduled office visits in eight different states. Key findings included:

    -- Fifty-five percent of office visits contained open-ended questions

       about how migraines affect patients' daily activities during and

       between attacks. As a result, 75 percent of patients shared personal

       experiences about how migraine disrupts their lives even when they are

       not suffering an attack.

    -- In 45 percent of visits, healthcare professionals asked their patients

       if they often thought about when their next migraine would occur.

       Thirty-seven percent of patients said the thought of their next

       migraine was often on their minds.

    -- Twenty-nine percent of healthcare professionals used the "ask-tell-ask"

       communications approach, which was successful in understanding the

       total number of headache days for patients.

    -- Following the visit, 94 percent of physicians said they learned

       valuable information because of the increased dialogue, and 89 percent

       said they learned information they would not have uncovered previously,

       even though the average visit length was nine minutes, 36 seconds -

       actually shorter than the length of AMCS I office visits (11 minutes).

    -- Ninety-four percent of patients also reported satisfaction with the

       visit, and 67 percent said the visit was better than communication with

       other healthcare professionals.

    -- Seventy-four percent of physicians discussed migraine preventive

       medication with their patients.

"Following AMCS II, healthcare professionals told us they had a greater appreciation of how migraines affect their patients' lives - including the disruption they experience between attacks," said Lipton. "Clinicians reported they felt their dialogue with patients had improved, and recognized that using more effective communication techniques enabled them to better identify patients who could benefit from migraine preventive therapy."

Migraine is a chronic, debilitating condition that is under-diagnosed, undertreated and misunderstood. Approximately 30 million Americans suffer from migraines, and less than half are properly diagnosed with the condition. Recently, the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention (AMPP) Study showed that almost 98 percent of people with frequent migraines take medications, but a large majority reported their lives are still negatively impacted by the pain and debilitation associated with migraine. In addition, approximately 40 percent of frequent migraine sufferers could benefit from preventive therapy, yet only 13 percent typically are on a migraine preventive medication.

About the American Migraine Communication Study

The American Migraine Communication Study was developed by Ortho-McNeil Neurologics, in partnership with the National Headache Foundation, to improve communication about migraine in a clinical setting. MBS/Vox, a research consultancy in Parsippany, N.J., that studies and analyzes how patients and physicians interact, conducted the study.

A total of 15 healthcare professionals (eight primary care physicians, five neurologists and two nurse practitioners) and 66 patients participated in the study. Practices were observed in California, Michigan, Illinois, Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, Ohio and New Jersey during October through December 2006.

All participating healthcare professionals also had participated in the study's first phase. Participants were trained to utilize two communication techniques: the "ask-tell-ask" method to assess the frequency of migraine attacks, and the use of open-ended questions to determine how migraines affect patients' lives both during and between attacks.

None of the patients were aware of the study sponsor or the specific focus of the study. They were told only that it was a study on communication about migraine. The 66 patients were videotaped and audio taped during their regularly scheduled visits.

Interviews following these office visits were conducted separately with patients and participating healthcare professionals. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using accepted techniques in the field of sociolinguistics, the study of how language is used in social situations, with a goal of assessing an educational intervention designed to improve communication about migraine between healthcare professionals and patients.

About Ortho-McNeil Neurologics, Inc.

Headquartered in Titusville, N.J., Ortho-McNeil Neurologics, Inc., focuses exclusively on providing solutions that improve neurological health. The company currently markets products for Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, and acute and preventive migraine treatment. Ortho-McNeil Neurologics, Inc., in conjunction with internal and external research partners, continues to explore new opportunities to develop solutions for unmet healthcare needs in neurology.


    Kere Thomas

    Ortho-McNeil Neurologics, Inc.


CONTACT: Kere Thomas of Ortho-McNeil Neurologics, Inc., +1-609-730-6588,

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Posted: February 2007