Seattle Times/Scripps Howard News Service, November 8, 2011

In today's harried medical environment, what doctors and other medical professionals say or don't say to patients may matter more than ever. Congeniality is no substitute for competence, of course, but most patients prefer that their doctor treat them with respect and concern. So there's little surprise about patient views in a recent study done by the University of Michigan Health System that videotaped 18 doctors' interactions with 36 patients, and then interviewed both participants afterward. Overwhelmingly, the patients focused on whether the doc seemed in a rush, made eye contact and listened carefully to what they said.

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