Thursday Review: “Soliciting the Patient’s Agenda: Have We Improved?”

What would a consultation look like if a patient were able to voice all of their concerns? Asked in a different way, how can we quantitatively demonstrate the benefits of a consultation where a patient is allowed to simply speak freely?

Writing in The Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. M. Kim Marvel et al. give some rich detail and answers. They use a slightly different approach to “agenda” than Barry et al. did in their work on unexpressed patient agenda items. This paper, though, comes to the same general conclusion: that being intentional about hearing all that a patient has to say makes healthcare more effective, not less.

Continue Reading “Thursday Review: “Soliciting the Patient’s Agenda: Have We Improved?””

Thursday Review: “Teaching communication skills to clinical students”

In a section of the BMJ under the header How To Do It, Ian Christopher McManus, Charles A. Vincent, S. Thom, and Jane Kidd offer practical advice from their experiences teaching communications to students at St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School.

I’m certainly not running a medical school, but there are still some interesting, practical ideas to be gleaned from the authors’ experiences.
Continue Reading “Thursday Review: “Teaching communication skills to clinical students””

Thursday Review: “What Is Value in Health Care?”

I read Dr. Michael E. Porter’s article in The New England Journal of Medicine a number of years ago. At the time, I was interested in concrete ways to talk about value and effectiveness in healthcare. Rereading it now, it strikes me that Porter provides a framework not only for those ideas, but also a template for having difficult conversations with patients.

The big idea in the paper is that value boils down to a simple equation:

Value = Outcomes / Costs

Continue Reading “Thursday Review: “What Is Value in Health Care?””

Are we sure about the “Humanities” in “Medical Humanities”?

In an article published late last year on the Washington Post’s website, Cathy N. Davidson reported on several studies run by Google’s HR department.

The findings were striking: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (“STEM”) ability wasn’t the most important quality in their top employees. It wasn’t even in the top five.
Continue Reading “Are we sure about the “Humanities” in “Medical Humanities”?”