Patient-clinician communication

Patient-clinician communication focuses on communication between patients and clinicians across the patient journey. It uses a person-centred approach to improve communication by enhancing the patients’ role in clinical communication, decision making, advocacy and self-determination, to facilitate safety and quality outcomes.


The Commissions work in Patient-clinician communication aims to ensure that effective, reliable and appropriate use of communication occurs between patients, carers, community health services and clinicians. 

The Commission has developed three information sheets to assist senior executives and clinical leaders, healthcare providers and consumers improve patient-clinician communication at transitions of care in hospitals.

Further resources are available in the Communicating for safety resource portal.


The Commission funded two research projects to better understand the evidence on patient-clinician communication and identify existing strategies, tools and resources to enable patient engagement in communication.

Resources developed to support patient-clinician communication at transitions of care were informed by the findings of these projects.

The first research project, undertaken by the Centre for Health Communication (UTS), provides an overview of relevant research and policy, summarising key findings of literature from 1976 to 2012.

The second research project, undertaken by a consortium from Deakin and Griffith Universities, focuses on engaging patients in communication at transition of care points in acute care services. The project involved a literature review and interviews with key stakeholders across seven hospitals. Stakeholders included nurses, allied health practitioners, doctors, patients, volunteers and family members.

The report on the project examines the key enablers and barriers to engaging patients in communication at transitions of care and describes the tools, processes and strategies identified in research and stakeholder interviews. Essential elements and guiding principles to promote patient engagement in communication with clinicians at transitions of care are also proposed. The full report and a summary of the report’s findings: