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Inside Health Care: Good Care Involves Good Communication

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After asking people, 'What do you like about your doctor? What do you dislike?' medical student Shara Yurkiewicz shares three stories about the good, the bad and the ugly of doctor-patient interactions. She believes that 'ability, affability and availability' are important for a good relationship between individuals and their clinicians.

Zakari Tata, M.D., on KevinMD.com thinks that successfully practicing medicine is an art. He said:
'It is an applied science that needs mastery in communication. No two patients are the same and an in-depth social history is equally as important as the latest NIH guidelines in managing a patient...Understanding the patients' perspectives is more important than what we think we know about the patient's condition. We as physicians need to listen more to the patient and know who the patient is before we can help them.'

Robert Centor, M.D., would agree that no two patients are the same, making medicine complex, and high-quality care difficult to define. He adds:
'Too often we are told to treat patients in a logic format ' if 'diagnosis,' then 'treatment'Doctors consider medical diagnoses as well as psychosocial issues and mental health issues. Our decision making must weigh factors of disease, patient finances, social situation and patient preferences.'

Emergency medicine resident and Get Better Health Grand Rounds founder, Nicholas Genes, M.D., Ph.D., responds to a recent a post on ER Stories: My Doctor Did Nothing. Dr. Genes explores this common communication breakdown:
'...from the patient's perspective, since they've still got a complaint, they've figured that nothing successful was done. From the ED physician's perspective, however, ruling out a bunch of life threatening conditions is a success. Or, the very least not nothing.'

Dr. Genes cited research on discharge instructions finding that 'only 22 percent of providers confirmed patients' understanding of instructions.' He uses the iPad as a way to review what was accomplished at the visit with his patients by going over lab reports, showing X-rays and explaining prescriptions. He said, 'I think this seems more tangible to the patient than just saying 'everything came back normal.''

Share 'the good, the bad and the ugly' of your interactions with your clinicians.

Shara Yurkiewicz is a medical student who blogs at This May Hurt a Bit. Zakari Tata, M.D., is a family physician whose posts appear on KevinMD.com. Robert Centor, M.D., is a doctor in internal medicine and blogs at db's Medical Rants. Emergency department resident and founder of Get Better Health Grand Rounds, Nicholas Genes, M.D., Ph.D., blogs at blogborygmi.

By Sarah Jorgenson

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Inside Healthcare   CFAH Staff   Communicate with your Doctors  


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