Often, we are left unsure of the effectiveness of our last doctor visit.

Did I get to spend enough time with the doctor?

Did I express my concerns thoroughly enough?

Did she even give me a chance to do so?

We’re all wondering the same thing when we leave the doctor’s office, so it becomes a neverending cycle of unanswered questions or unspoken concerns. Unfortunately, the cycle can eventually lead to decreased patient satisfaction and poor health outcomes.

Research shows there is a significant correlation between patient-physician interaction time, patient satisfaction and positive health outcomes. So to help you understand the relationship better, compiled below are three studies that explore the interesting connection.

On Communication and Health Outcomes

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1) Moira A. Stewart, PhD: “ Effective Physician – Patient Communication and Health Outcomes: A Review”

Have you ever wondered whether the time spent with your physician, and the quality of communication between the two of you, makes a significant difference to your health outcomes?

A study done by Moira A. Stewart PhD confirmed that there is indeed a significant correlation between effective physician communication and improved patient health outcomes.

The research also concluded that patients should have an active role in their care management; patients need to feel as though they are active participants in their own care and all of their concerns and feelings have been fully discussed. This helps not only in terms of their physiological well being, but their physical symptoms as well.

Furthermore, an agreement between the patient and physician about the action of care was found to be a key variable influencing the health outcome of the patient. Proving that the more time spent with the patient discussing the health issues or concerns, positively affects the patient’s health status.

2) Dugdale, et.al. : “Time and the Patient – Physician Relationship”

Being a great physician isn’t always easy, but breaking down why physicians are great is.

It all starts with one simple task, a conversation. By studying patient-physician communication patterns, Dugdale, et.al. are able to break down what makes for a great physician and how effective communication between both parties truly affects the health outcomes and satisfaction of patients.

The study proves that longer visits with a physician allows for more attention to increased patient participation, patient education, preventative health, and performance of immunizations.

In addition, a suboptimal visit leads to decreased patient satisfaction, increased patient turnover, and inappropriate prescribing. When this domino effect occurs, we are then decreasing the likeliness that a patient will have optimal health outcomes.

3) Abdulhadi et.al. “Patient-Provider Interaction from the Perspective of Type 2 Diabetes Patients in Muscat, Oman: A Qualitative Study”

Although not in the US, the study of interaction between the Type 2 Diabetes patient and provider interaction in Muscat, Oman demonstrates the idea that the interaction truly has an affect on patient satisfaction and their care management.

Throughout the research patients were able to identify weaknesses regarding the provider’s communication. Unfriendly welcoming, interrupted consultation privacy, poor attention and eye contact, lack of encouraging patients to ask questions, or inability to express concerns were only a few of the patients’ worries.

The evident lack of quality communication between the patient and provider hinders the patient’s ability to participate in their health dialogue. The study stated that encouraging the patient to ask questions and express concerns is not only a method of information seeking, but also increases patient satisfaction and health outcomes.

Can you relate to these studies? Share an experience below of a time you felt unsatisfied with your physician’s communication skills.