Health professional-patient communication practices in East Asia: An integrative review of an emerging field of research and practice in Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Mainland China

Jack K.H. Pun, Engle Angela Chan, Sophie Wang, Diana Slade

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To provide an integrative review of literature on health communication in East Asia and detail culturally-specific influences. Methods: Using PRISMA model, search of PubMed, PsychInfo, Web of Knowledge, ERIC and CINAHL databases were conducted for studies between January 2000 and March 2017, using the terms ‘clinician/health professional-patient’ ‘nurse/doctor-patient, ‘communication’ and ‘Asia’. Results: 38 studies were included: Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. The existing body of research on clinician patient communication in East Asia can be classified: 1) understanding the roles and expectations of the nurse, clinician, patient, and family in clinician-patient consultations: a) nurse-patient communication; b) doctor-patient communication; c) the role of family member; and 2) factors affecting quality of care: d) cultural attitudes towards death and terminal illnesses; e) communication preferences affecting trust, decision-making and patient satisfaction; f) the extent to which patient centred care is being implemented in practice; and g) communication practices in multilingual/multi-disciplinary environments. Conclusion: The review detailed the complexity and heterogeneity of clinician-patient communication across East Asia. The studies reviewed indicate that research in East Asia is starting to move beyond a preference for Western-based communication practices. Practice implications: There is a need to consider local culture in understanding and interpreting medical encounters in East Asia. The paper highlights the need for a specific culturally-appropriate model of health communication in East Asia which may significantly improve relationships between clinicians and patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1193-1206
Number of pages14
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • Communication
  • Doctor-patient
  • East-Asia
  • Empathy
  • Health care communication
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Mainland China
  • Nurse-patient
  • Patient involvement
  • Patient-centred care
  • Review
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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