Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

pp 1-2

Date: Latest Version

Communication Skills

  • Yori GidronAffiliated withFaculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, Free University of Brussels (VUB) Email author 


Doctor-Patient Interactions


Communication skills are an essential medium through which physicians interact with patients, in order to diagnose and treat patients. According to Ong et al. (1995), doctor-patient communication has three main roles: (1) to create a positive interpersonal relationship, (2) exchange information, and (3) make treatment-related decisions. A positive interpersonal relationship includes facilitation of trust between the patient and a health professional that enables honest bidirectional expression of concerns and report of behaviors (e.g., risky behaviors, nonadherence). Exchange of information is the basis of the doctor-patient interaction, where information from patient to doctor enables the latter to arrive at more accurate diagnoses and to decide about more suitable and effective treatments. Similarly, adequate exchange of information from physician to patient enables the doctor to inform the patient about risks of unhealthy behaviors (e.g., ...

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