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September 5, 2007

The Value of Assessing and Addressing Communication Skills

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Center for Communication and Medicine, Department of Medicine and Division of General Internal Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois.

JAMA. 2007;298(9):1057-1059. doi:10.1001/jama.298.9.1057

Research published in the late 1960s by Korsch et al1,2 is widely considered the foundation for contemporary inquiry into the patient-physician relationship. In a diverse set of studies since then, effective communication has been linked with increases in patient and physician satisfaction, better adherence to treatment plans, more appropriate medical decisions, better health outcomes, and fewer malpractice claims.3-6 Recent research has provided evidence-based guidance about specific aspects of the patient-physician interaction, such as greetings and self-disclosure.7,8 In addition, surveys continue to indicate that physicians are the preferred source of health information,9 highlighting the importance of ensuring effective patient education and counseling.

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