Non-verbal communication is an important component of the physician-patient interaction. Oncology patients face specific emotional and psychological issues requiring additional physician emotional support. Multiple studies in oncology patients have revealed that patients perceive physicians seated during the medical interview to be more compassionate, caring, and likely to spend more time with the patients. These are all associated with improved patient outcomes. Barriers to sitting may be due to those imposed by time, space, and reduced perceived benefit of sitting by the physician. Although a sitting posture alone is unlikely to compensate for poor communication skills, assessing patient preference to physician posture, and following their preference, can be a simple way of improving communication, and thus patient outcomes, especially in oncology patients. The widespread introduction of the electronic medical record (EMR) system over the last decade has added a “third wheel” to the original dyadic physician-patient relationship. Physician posture and eye gaze towards to the EMR and its components has a deleterious effect on communication. Appropriate training and sensitization in this regard should be provided for physicians.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2015, American Association for Cancer Education.
- Non-verbal behavior
- Patient preference