Ways to improve the patient–physician relationship

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Purpose of review

This article revises the main conclusions from recent reviews and research, about the different dimensions that shape the patient–physician relationship, delineating specific areas of intervention that would reinforce the quality of this interaction.

Recent findings

The selected articles reflect the permanent interest that exists about this topic. Within the most promissory findings significant associations were found from statistical as well as clinical standpoints. These associated verbal and non-verbal communication skills, as well as the empathizing ability of the physician, with clinical results of the patients, were measured with subjective parameters (e.g. patient satisfaction) and especially objective ones (e.g. physiological markers). Nevertheless, the results are still not robust and cannot be translatable.


The implications of these studies are at a conceptual and instrumental level. A better precision of the dimensions and variables that define the patient–physician relationship will permit the design of educational strategies and training that will empower the physician for an interaction with his patients of greater technical and relational efficiency.

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