Patient-physician communication: A descriptive summary of the literature

Debra L. Roter, Judith A. Hall, Nancy R. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

230 Scopus citations


This paper summarizes the results of 61 independent studies containing descriptive variables from objectively measured medical encounters. Over 200 unique patient and provider variables were identified and grouped a priori, through a process of consensual validation, into six broad categories of communication process variables: information-giving, information-seeking, partnership-building, social conversation, positive talk and negative talk. Length of medical visit and proportionate contribution of each speaker were abstracted. In addition each study was coded for 47 study attributes including characteristics of the sample, study design and methodology. Study results fall in three broad areas: (1) characteristics of the studies are presented based on the coded attributes; (2) communication profiles of patient and physician interaction are constructed by averaging the data over studies; and (3) comparisons of communication behavior across studies are presented by common sample and setting characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-119
Number of pages21
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1988


  • interaction analysis
  • literature review
  • patient-physician communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Patient-physician communication: A descriptive summary of the literature'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this