More on Doctor – Patient Communication, from Dr. Roy Sessions

RoySessionsThere’s so much to say about doctor/patient communication that even an overview of my thoughts is only possible in segments; therefore I’ll write several essays on this important subject. In my previous blog, I laid out general thoughts about what I feel actually defines communication. Specifically and most importantly, its basic ingredient is a two-way exchange – transmission and comprehension. Anything short of patient comprehension does not meet the gold standard. Put another way, without comprehension, the conversation is really only doctor’s monolog. Importantly, the ultimate responsibility for achieving this standard belongs to the doctor, rather than the patient – no matter what it takes. Bottom line, a physician should have the “people skills” and the concern to recognize when he/she is not making contact. Essential to communication is for the physician to be a good listener. Over time, I have become convinced that patients often have an instinctive sense of their own bodies, and on many occasions they feel something is wrong well before telltale symptoms or signs cause concern for their physician. While studying physical diagnosis in medical school, we were consistently admonished to listen to what your patient was saying; “they will often give you valuable information that you aren’t even seeking”, we were told. “Learn to read between the lines”. So when a patient says “something is wrong,” the wise doctor takes heed. Continue reading “More on Doctor – Patient Communication, from Dr. Roy Sessions”