Doctor-patient communication is a major component of the process of health care. Doctors are in a unique position of respect and power. Hippocrates suggested that doctors may influence patients' health. Effective doctor-patient communication can be a source of motivation, incentive, reassurance, and support. A good doctor-patient relationship can increase job satisfaction and reinforce patients' self-confidence, motivation, and positive view of their health status, which may influence their health outcomes.
Most complaints about doctors are related to issues of communication, not clinical competency. Patients want doctors who can skillfully diagnose and treat their sicknesses as well as communicate with them effectively.
Doctors with better communication and interpersonal skills are able to detect problems earlier, can prevent medical crises and expensive intervention, and provide better support to their patients. This may lead to higher-quality outcomes and better satisfaction, lower costs of care, greater patient understanding of health issues, and better adherence to the treatment process. There is currently a greater expectation of collaborative decision making, with physicians and patients participating as partners to achieve the agreed upon goals and the attainment of quality of life.