Objective: A comprehensive review was conducted of the theoretical and empirical work that addresses the preference-match strategy in physician-patient communication.
Methods: Searches were conducted on Medline, PsychINFO, InFoTrac One File Plus, Sociological Abstracts, and Dissertation Abstracts through 2004. The following keywords were used: patient preferred and received information; patient preferred and actualized treatment decision-making; patient-physician beliefs in shared decision-making; patient-physician match, fit, or concordance; reciprocal relationship or mutuality; doctor-patient affiliation, control, relationship; match/fit between patient and physician in affiliation, control, or relationship.
Results: Findings revealed varying degrees of support for the positive effects of matching patients' preferred levels of information, decisional control, and consultative interpersonal behavior.
Conclusions: Findings justify not only continued but expanded research efforts in this area that would incorporate recommended changes in research design and implementation. PRACTICE AND RESEARCH IMPLICATIONS: Assessment strategies and match interventions are discussed that, if evidence continues to be supportive, might routinely optimize patient-physician encounters toward more positive outcomes. Methodological guidelines are suggested that can improve future preference-match studies of the patient-physician interaction. Practitioners need to consider adoption of patient-match assessment and intervention strategies in addition to recent exclusive concentrations on patient-centered and shared decision-making approaches.