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Trust and Communication in a Doctor- Patient Relationship: A Literature Review.

Background: The changing pattern in the doctor-patient relationship is becoming more of a challenge for health care providers. For a healthy and effective doctor-patient relation, trust and communication is considered to play a vital role.

Aim: This literature review was conducted with the aim to gather the knowledge and concepts pertaining to communication and trust in a doctor-patient relationship and how they influence patient satisfaction and perceived quality of health care services.

Method: Various electronic databases including PubMed, Hinari, Cochrane, Scopus and Google Scholar were used to search for the articles. Related article titles were selected which was narrowed down to abstract of interested articles and the final 17 selected full articles were reviewed.

Results: All the articles reviewed showed that both trust and communication were positively related to patient satisfaction and perceived quality of health care services in-terms of better compliance with medication and following medical advice; both in developed and developing country. Though, the determinants of trust differed slightly between rural and urban setting. Apart from the doctor’s communication skills, level of interpersonal treatment and knowledge about the patient, respect for the doctors and treatment assurance lead to better trust as well in rural setting. Patient -centered communication with two-way conversation using open-ended questions leads to better communication. Collaborative decision-making leads to better management and better chances of compliance with treatment.

Conclusion: The current evidence suggests that patient-centered approach with effective communications skills and trust leads to better management and improved patient satisfaction. This is associated to better adherence to the treatment, better health outcomes and better perceived quality of healthcare services.


Swastika Chandra*, Masoud Mohammadnezhad and Paul Ward

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