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Practical Advice for Choosing a New Doctor


Narrator:    This is Science Today. This time of the year, many employees are looking into changing health insurance plans and possibly, choosing a new doctor. Psychologist Robin DiMatteo of the University of California, Riverside is one of the nation's leading researchers of doctor-patient communication. DiMatteo says a couple of components need to be working well in order for a doctor and a patient to have an optimal relationship.

    The first piece of the puzzle is the task-focused communication. That is, the doctor and patient need to be able to communicate with each other in order to get the work done - the work of taking care of the patient's health. So, doctor's and patients need to understand each other, communicate information, patients need to say what their concerns are, what the issues are that they have questions about. Physicians need to effectively communicate to their patients the information that patients need to take care of themselves.

    DiMatteo says the second component, which has to do with a physician's bedside manner, is just as important - and can make or break a doctor-patient relationship. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.