Document Type: Research Paper


1 Montclair State University, USA

2 University of Louisiana-Monroe, USA


Strong doctor-patient relationships generate greater patient satisfaction and compliance with physician recommendations. Although prior research has explored distinct factors driving favorable patient outcomes, investigations have yet to comprehensively address the efficacy of different communication styles. Furthermore, it is critical to explore the full impact communication approaches have on perceptions of medical services. This investigation addressed two patient-centered communication approaches – empathy and nonverbal immediacy – as antecedents to Vietnamese patients’ impressions of physicians and hospital services. Results showed that these two factors were powerful, independent predictors of satisfaction and trust. Conversely, patient participation was a less robust predictor of judgments toward physicians as well as a weak mediator between patient-centered communication skills and favorable physician impressions. In addition, results showed that patient satisfaction in physicians was a key intervening factor in the relationship between patient-centered communication skills and hospital satisfaction. Overall, the findings highlight the critical importance of physician connectedness with patients as central to patients' global judgments of medical services.