Research Provides a Look at How to Improve Doctor Patient Communication

Jul 09, 2020

doctor communication

In a healthcare industry where patient-centered care is most valued, patient communication has become a greater priority for many facilities. How well physicians and nurses communicate with patients can greatly affect how those patients perceive their care as well as their satisfaction with their stay in a facility.

Since patient communication has become a cornerstone of patient-centered care, medical researchers and universities have conducted countless studies over the years, ranging from the importance of communicating effectively with patients to how care teams can improve their skills in this area. The research on this topic is comprehensive and broad, and as healthcare whiteboard manufacturers, it’s also of great interest to us. That’s why we have taken the time to compile some of these studies. Here are a few important studies that have been conducted over the years regarding patient communication, it’s affects, and how it can be improved.

The Benefits of Effective Patient Communication

comprehensive review and study has revealed that effective doctor-patient communication is a central clinical function in building a therapeutic relationship. This communication can help doctors gather information in order to facilitate accurate diagnosis, counsel appropriately, give therapeutic instructions, and establish caring relationships with patients. For patients, this effective communication can help patients regulate their emotions, better understand medical information, and allow them to better express their needs, perceptions, and expectations.

How Patient Communication Improves Patient Satisfaction

This same review also notes that when patients report good communication with their doctor, they are more likely to be satisfied with their care. They are especially more likely to share pertinent information that can help lead to an accurate diagnosis of their problems, and they are more likely to follow a physician’s advice and adhere to the prescribed treatment moving forward.

Read the full review here.

When it comes to HCAHPS scores, one of the leading ways to measure patient satisfaction, strong communication is an effective way to increase a patient’s score. Evidence-based reviews of HCAHPS surveys have revealed that positive physician behaviors were reported when patients felt:

  • They were a respected partner in medical decision making
  • That physicians provided full, satisfying explanations
  • That physicians elicited and addressed patient concerns
  • That physicians modified therapeutic plans based on patients’ input

When reviewing these favored behaviors, it’s easy to see how patient communication helps reinforce a patient’s favorable view of their care, thus increasing their HCAHPS scores.

How to Improve Patient Communication

Because the importance of patient communication is widely accepted, there have been numerous studies conducted to help improve communication with patients throughout their entire stay at a facility.

One study showed that patient communication can be improved by implementing a standardized training program that is designed with communication best practices, which include:

  • Basic courtesies like knocking before entering, closing doors/curtains for privacy, washing up before shaking hands with patients, maintaining eye contact, etc.
  • Being comprehensive with gathering information like pain levels, symptoms, vital signs, etc., and when summarizing the patients’ major health problems, statuses, and treatment plans.
  • Speaking in simple, easy to understand language.

Other studies have shown that using bedside patient whiteboards to enhance communication led to several positive results for patients that included:

  • 95% of patients finding the whiteboards helpful
  • 92% of patients being able to read the information on the whiteboard frequently
  • Patients finding that the name of the team members, current date, upcoming tests/procedures, and goals of care were the most useful.

The study concludes that orienting patients and their families to the purpose of whiteboards, and encouraging their daily use, may help facilitate communication and information sharing in the hospital.


Patient communication is vital. Give your care teams the equipment they need to improve the way they treat. Design your communication whiteboard with Ghent Healthcare today.