The literature on communication, compliance, and patient satisfaction is selectively reviewed. As in earlier reviews, it is concluded that dissatisfaction with communication remains widespread, as does lack of compliance with medical advice. Related factors include poor transmission of information from patient to doctor, low understandability of communications addressed to the patient, and low levels of recall of information by patients. There does not appear to be any evidence that provision of additional information leads to adverse reactions by patients. Theoretical approaches to communication and compliance are described, and it is concluded that these should be used to direct future research.