A study investigated the degree to which residents' communication of specific information about medications and follow-up appointments had an impact on patient recall, satisfaction, and adherence. Twenty-nine interactions between patients and residents were taped and analyzed by two trained observers. Patients were interviewed immediately after their interactions with residents to assess their ability to recall instructions and to assess their levels of satisfaction with the visit. Patients' overall global satisfaction with their interactions was highly correlated with their ratings of resident information giving (Pearson r = .90, P less than .001). Patients who expressed higher levels of satisfaction also had higher recall rates (Pearson r = .39, P less than .01), although overall patient recall rate was only slightly above 50 percent. Observers' analysis of residents giving information reveals a mean performance rating of 40 percent. Only 31 percent of patients returned for their follow-up appointments. The study suggests that information itself may not be so important in determining patient satisfaction as are patients' perceptions that physicians attempt to give them information. Such information may, however, have greater impact on patient adherence with physician recommendations.