American physicians and dentists conduct approximately 140000-160000 patient interviews in a practice lifetime, making the interview the most frequently performed medical procedure. Over the past 75years, 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.
- Public health
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