Physician communication to patients regarding medications

Larry Scherwitz, Deborah Hennrikus, Solomon Yusim, Jerry Lester, Carlos Vallbona

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


An analysis of 11 physicians' speech content regarding medications was conducted on 267 encounters with hypertensive patients. Scored were categories for questions, instructions, directions to take and justifications for taking medications. The median inter-auditor agreement was 83%. The results indicate that the physicians asked few questions and gave few instructions for patients on stable drug regimens; however, for newly prescribed drugs and changed regimens the provided information doubled: there were instructions for 77%, medication-taking commands for 31% and justification for taking medications for 21% of all medications. Other resutls indicate that physicians did not discriminate by age, sex or race in quantity of speech about medication, but they did ask more questions of patients who saw a different physician on the previous visit. The results suggest that the system of scoring speech was reliable and captured the physicians adjustments to their patients' and their own needs for information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-136
Number of pages16
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1985


  • Medication taking
  • Patient education
  • Physician-patient communication
  • Speech content analysis

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