The first purpose of clinical medicine, Dr. William J. Donnelly quotes, is
to relieve human suffering.1 Why, then, does the education and practice of mainstream medicine say almost nothing about patient suffering, other than pain relief?
Continue Reading “Thursday Review: “Taking Suffering Seriously: A New Role for the Medical Case History””
In the discussions about how to bring the humanities into medicine, one essential feature often gets lost. The attempts to make care more human and more humane aren’t being done for the sake of warm fuzzies. There are concrete ways medical outcomes suffer when healthcare practitioners and patients aren’t communicating well.
Writing in The BMJ, Christine A. Barry, et al. provide one of the clearest discussions on medical outcomes suffering from ineffective communication, and why both patients and doctors are hesitant to change communication for the better.
Continue Reading “Thursday Review: “Patients’ unvoiced agendas in general practice consultations: qualitative study””
The Quiet Burnout Bombshell
One of the major ideas behind medical storytelling is that better physician-patient communication yields better results.1 Writing in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, Dr. Neda Ratanawongsa, Dr. Debra Roter, Dr. Mary Catherine Beach, Shivonne L. Laird, Susan M. Larson, Kathryn A. Carson, and Dr. Lisa A. Cooper make a completely rational assumption:
[W]e hypothesized that professional burnout would diminish physicians’ inclination or ability to engage in rapport-building with their patients during routine medical visits. As secondary outcomes, we hypothesized that higher levels of burnout would be associated with less positive affect by physicians and patients, less patient-centeredness, shorter visit lengths, greater verbal dominance by physicians, and more negative patient ratings of satisfaction, trust, and confidence in their physicians.
It’s a kind of quiet bombshell, then, that after a survey of physician and patient interactions,
no differences were evident in the rapport-building behaviors of physicians relative to their burnout scores.
Continue Reading “Thursday Review: “Physician Burnout and Patient-Physician Communication During Primary Care Encounters””