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  The Subtleties of Communication at the Doctor’s Office

 

Narrator: This is Science Today. If you've ever left your doctor's office feeling dissatisfied or even annoyed by your interaction there, the reason may be the way your doctor communicated with you. In fact, psychologist Robin DiMatteo of the University of California, Riverside has found that a physician's ability - or inability - to convey warmth, compassion and support may have a significant effect on a patient's health.

DiMatteo: There is evidence that good communication from health professionals to patients improved patient's adherence to treatment, improves patient satisfaction and can even improve patient's health and now that that science is there, it's being incorporated into medical training and into the training of health professionals in all fields and that's a really exciting development.

Narrator: And DiMatteo says it's not just what a doctor verbalizes - it's the subtleties of communication that matter, too.

DiMatteo: The socio-emotional component of caring and understanding patients can be communicated non-verbally with facial expressions, voice tone, just the manner - the kind manner in which a doctor behaves can communicate a great deal to the patient.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.