Communication is central to healthcare. Through communication health information is shared between health professionals and patients and between health professionals themselves. Communication is at the basis of patient education and health campaigns aimed at supporting consumers’ decision-making on health issues. Last but not least, communication among stakeholders is a main factor for successful knowledge translation – i.e., for the application of research findings to inform and ameliorate healthcare policies and practices.
Human beings communicate naturally. Effective communication, however, is a matter of knowledge, skills and strategies. Thus, health communication as a scientific discipline focuses on: how to successfully interact in interpersonal health communication; how to design, implement and evaluate appropriate programs of patient and consumer education; and how to engage in interdisciplinary communication for the implementation of integrated care.