International Journal of Research Foundation of Hospital and Healthcare Administration

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VOLUME 3 , ISSUE 2 ( July-December, 2015 ) > List of Articles


A Study of Patient-Physician Communication and Barriers in Communication

Ashok Mittal, Ginny Kaushal, Nikita Sabherwal, NK Pandey, Paul Kaustav

Citation Information : Mittal A, Kaushal G, Sabherwal N, Pandey N, Kaustav P. A Study of Patient-Physician Communication and Barriers in Communication. Int J Res Foundation Hosp Healthc Adm 2015; 3 (2):71-78.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10035-1040

Published Online: 01-03-2015

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2015; The Author(s).



Effective doctor-patient communication is the basic requirement in building a good doctor-patient relationship. Safe practices and effective, patient-centered communication is key to quality care. Good doctor-patient communication has the potential to help regulate patients’ emotions, facilitate comprehension of medical information and allow for better identification of patients’ needs, perceptions and expectations. Doctors with better communication and interpersonal skills are able to detect problems earlier, can prevent medical crisis and expensive intervention, and provide better support to their patients.

Current research indicates that ineffective communication among healthcare professionals is one of the leading causes of medical errors and patient harm. There are many barriers to good communication in the doctor-patient relationship, including patients’ anxiety and fear, doctors’ burden of work, fear of litigation, fear of physical or verbal abuse, and unrealistic patient expectations. National accreditation board for hospitals and healthcare providers (NABH) standards and international patient safety goals focus on the importance of effective communication in healthcare settings and how it leads to patient safety.

This study is an attempt to identify gaps in patient physician communication in the current healthcare settings, find the barriers in communication and give recommendation to enhance good practices in the future.


The aim of the study is to analyze the current levels of effective patient communication in a tertiary care hospital in Delhi-NCR with help of a self-administered questionnaire. The study will assess the level of information shared with the patient.

Settings and design

The design of our proposed study is a descriptive study where we will use a self-administered questionnaire to assess the level of patient-physician communication in the selected study setting.

Materials and methods

The NABH standard were used as a guideline for preparing the self-administered questionnaire. All admitted vulnerable patients of the selected study area will consist of the population for the study. Simple random sampling technique will be used to derive the sample out of the population.

Statistical analysis used

Correlation and analysis of variance (ANOVA) were used to establish associations between the independent and dependent variables.


The study shows that 48% of the respondents were of opinion that they were given partial information, while 20% of the respondents alleged that they were not given any information about the explanation of their disease, its prognosis and the treatment option that were available, i.e. a total of 62% of the patients said that they had partial information to complete lack of information that would have made them aware of their diseases, its prognosis and the treatments options available to cure it, while only 32% of the patients agreed that they were supplied with thorough information during their interaction with the physicians.


The majority of the patients were not wellinformed about their disease, its prognosis, treatment plan and continuity of care. There was a significant positive correlation between the communication made at initial stages of hospital stay and during the end stages of stay of patient. The main barrier to patient physician communication was time.

Key message

To ensure patient safety, it is imperative to inform patients about all the important aspects starting from admission till discharge.

How to cite this article

Sabherwal N, Mittal A, Pandey NK, Kaushal G, Kaustav P. A Study of Patient-Physician Communication and Barriers in Communication. Int J Res Foundation Hosp Healthc Adm 2015;3(2):71-78.

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