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Hokkaido Igaku Zasshi. 1994 Sep;69(5):1081-5.

[Effective doctor-patient interaction and communication: psychiatric point of view].

[Article in Japanese]

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Department of Psychiatry, Hokkaido University School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan.


Effective interaction and communication between doctor and patient is a central clinical function that cannot be delegated. Most of the essential diagnostic information arises from the interview, and the physician's interpersonal skills also largely determine the patient's satisfaction and compliance and positively influence health outcomes. Such skills, including active listening to patient's concerns, are among the qualities of a physician most desired by patients. Increasing public dissatisfaction with the medical profession is, in good part, related to deficiencies in clinical communication. Sufficient data have now accumulated to prove that problems in doctor-patient interaction and communication are extremely common and adversely affect patient management. It has been repeatedly shown that the clinical skills needed to improve these problems can be taught and that the subsequent benefits to medical practice are demonstrable, feasible on a routine basis, and enduring. There is therefore a clear and urgent need for teaching of these clinical skills to be incorporated into medical school curriculums and continued into postgraduate training and courses in continuing medical education. If current knowledge is now implemented in clinical practice, and if the priorities for research are addressed, there may be material improvement in the relationship between patient and doctor.

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