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Oral Dis. 2015 Nov;21(8):919-26. doi: 10.1111/odi.12250. Epub 2014 May 7.

The secret of the care of the patient is in knowing and applying the evidence about effective clinical communication.

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Department of Medicine and Geriatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA.
Center for Courage and Renewal, Seattle, WA, USA.


American physicians and dentists conduct approximately 140 000-160 000 patient interviews in a practice lifetime, making the interview the most frequently performed medical procedure. Over the past 75 years, a steadily growing stream of scientific research has confirmed the fact that patient-clinician communication affects the course, direction, and both biomedical and functional outcomes of care. The field of clinical communication research has matured from anecdotes and aphorisms about 'bedside manner' to sophisticated randomized control trials and evidence-based outcomes that have been translated into reliable practice guidelines. Several key skills or habits of practice have been identified and studied in terms of their efficacy and effectiveness. These include the importance of agenda-setting, eliciting patients' perspectives about the nature of their ailments, communicating caring and concern, and testing for patient comprehension and agreement with proposed treatments. In addition to being effective, interpersonal communication can be deeply satisfying as well as offering a lower probability of law suits in the event of an adverse outcome.


discipline; medicine; public health

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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