The impact of patient-centered communication on patients' decision making and evaluations of physicians: A randomized study using video vignettes

Somnath Saha, Mary Catherine Beach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To assess the impact of patient-centered communication (PCC) behaviors on patients' evaluations of physicians and acceptance of clinical recommendations. Methods: We randomized 248 patients to view video-recorded, standardized vignettes, depicting a cardiologist using a high vs. low degree of PCC while recommending bypass surgery to a patient with angina and 3-vessel coronary artery disease. We compared patients' ratings of the physician and their decision making in response to the physician's recommendation, for high vs. low PCC vignettes. Results: Patients viewing high PCC vignettes rated the video physician more favorably overall (3.01 vs. 2.12, p<0.001) and as more competent (3.22 vs. 2.66, p<0.001) and trustworthy (2.93 vs. 2.28, p<0.001) than those viewing the low PCC version (0-4 range for all scales). Patients viewing the high PCC version more frequently said they would undergo bypass surgery (96% vs. 74%, p<0.001) if they were the patient in the video. Conclusion: Patients expressed greater confidence in physicians who used more PCC behaviors, and greater willingness to accept an evidence-based recommendation. Practice implications: PCC may make physicians more effective in the delivery of evidence-based care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)386-392
Number of pages7
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011



  • Communication
  • Decision making
  • Patient-centered care
  • Physician-patient relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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