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Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2019 Jul;176(2):349-356. doi: 10.1007/s10549-019-05232-w. Epub 2019 Apr 25.

The impact of communication style on patient satisfaction.

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Yale School of Medicine, 333 Cedar St., PO Box 208032, New Haven, CT, 05620, USA.
National Institute of Oncology, New Haven, USA.
Yale-New Haven Health System, New Haven, USA.
St. Mary's Hospital, Waterbury, USA.
The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.
Barbara Healy Associates, Cheshire, USA.
Yale School of Medicine, 333 Cedar St., PO Box 208032, New Haven, CT, 05620, USA.



Communication between patients and health providers influences patient satisfaction, but it is unknown whether similarity in communication styles results in higher patient satisfaction.


This study was conducted in the Smilow Cancer Hospital Breast Center. During routine follow-up visits, patients completed a Communication Styles Assessment (CSA), health survey (SF-12), Princess Margaret Hospital Satisfaction with Doctor Questionnaire, and brief demographic form. Physicians and Advanced Practice Providers were also asked to complete the CSA. Patients and providers were blinded to each other's responses. A communication styles concordance score was calculated as the Pearson correlation between 80 binary CSA items for each provider/patient pair. Factors affecting patient satisfaction scores were assessed in mixed-effects models.


In total, 330 patients were invited to participate; of these 289 enrolled and 245 returned surveys. One hundred seventy-four completed all survey components, and 18 providers completed the CSA. Among the factors considered, physical health score (effect size = 0.0058, 95% CI 0.00051 to 0.0011, p = 0.032) and employment status (0.12, 95% CI - 0.0094 to 0.25, p = 0.069) had the greatest impact on patient satisfaction. However, patients who were not employed and less physically healthy had significantly elevated satisfaction scores when their communication style was more similar to their provider's (1.52, 95% CI 0.66 to 2.38, p = 0.0016).


Patients who were physically healthy and employed were generally more satisfied with their care. The similarity in communication styles of patients and providers had a greater impact on patient satisfaction for patients who were less physically healthy and not employed.


Breast cancer; Communication styles; Patient satisfaction


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