Does improving patient-practitioner communication improve clinical outcomes in patients with cardiovascular diseases? A systematic review of the evidence

Patient Educ Couns. 2014 Jul;96(1):3-12. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2014.04.006. Epub 2014 Apr 21.


Objective: To conduct a systematic literature review appraising the effects of interventions to improve patient-practitioner communication on cardiovascular-related clinical outcomes.

Methods: Databases were searched up to March 27, 2013 to identify eligible studies that included interventions to improve patient and/or practitioner communication skills and assessment of a cardiovascular-related clinical outcome in adults ≥18 years of age.

Results: Fifteen papers were reviewed: the primary focus in seven studies was the patient; seven included a practitioner-focused intervention and one targeted both. Two patient-focused and two practitioner-focused studies demonstrated a beneficial effect of the intervention compared to a control group. Patient-focused studies were designed to improve patients' information-seeking and question-asking skills with their practitioner. Practitioner-focused studies were designed to either improve practitioner's general patient-centered communication or risk communication skills.

Conclusion: Few interventions targeting patient-practitioner communication have assessed the impact on cardiovascular-related clinical outcomes, limiting the ability to determine effectiveness. Additional rigorous research supported by theoretical frameworks and validated measurement is needed to understand the potential of patient-practitioner communication to improve cardiovascular-related clinical outcomes.

Practice implications: Investments in communication skills trainings in medical education and practice are needed in order to attain the full potential of patient-centered care on cardiovascular-related clinical outcomes.

Keywords: Cardiovascular diseases; Patient–practitioner communication; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy*
  • Communication*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Patient-Centered Care / methods*
  • Professional-Patient Relations*