Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952576 | Print ISBN: 9780761923602 | Online ISBN: 9781412952576| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The delivery of medical care depends upon effective communication in the doctor-patient relationship. When patients fail to understand what they have been told and do not ask questions or express their true concerns, the medical visit can be compromised. Thirty years of research provides important insights into the challenges of doctor-patient communication and the factors that promote or interfere with the therapeutic relationship. In human social interaction, effective communication involves the unrestricted exchange of meaning between people to establish a common understanding. This exchange can take various forms: words (spoken or written) constitute verbal communication, and signs constitute nonverbal communication (gestures, facial expressions, gaze and eye contact, body postures and movements, vocal tone and quality, interaction distance, touch, and appearance). Doctors and patients express their own and read each other's signs constantly (and usually unconsciously) at the same time that they are communicating verbally. People tend to infer the The ...