Difficult and ambiguous conversations are unavoidable in the practice of medicine. Looking at the most ambiguous and categorically difficult conversations helps illuminate why good communication skills are essential in all of them. Writing in BMJ Open, Le et al. give a glimpse into best practices that can be applied to any patient.
Patient-centered medicine is important for patients and physicians alike. Patients help steer the treatment and care they receive. Physicians are relieved from the burden of having to be godlike guardians of life and death. Both are able to dialogue about what the best course of action might be for this particular patient. Yet in spite […]
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?
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 […]
One of the most important concepts of my training in storytelling is one of the most overlooked. The technical term is “The Space Between”. The idea is that one force alone is uninteresting, if not meaningless. It has to act with or against something else to be interesting and meaningful. This is a way of […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
Dr. Moira A. Stewart, writing in the 1995 Canadian Medical Association Journal, writes that although there had been reviews of data exploring the relation between communication and patient satisfaction,1 which linked communication with quality of care,2 and others exploring the theory of physician-patient communication or how medical education could incorporate these ideas, none specifically looked […]
This November, the Thursday Reviews will be dedicated to some of the literature available on Resilience and Burnout. We’ll be examining how storytelling and narrative are essential to healthcare providers’ well-being.Nov. 2 | Nov. 9 | Nov. 16 | Wed., Nov. 22 | Nov. 30 The Quiet Burnout Bombshell One of the major ideas behind […]