Poor communication between physician and patient can cause a lot of harm, according to Joseph N. Cappella, PhD, Gerald R. Miller Professor Emeritus of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and Richard N. Street Jr, PhD, professor of communication and media science at Texas A&M University in Houston, Texas. When a physician and patient talk past each other, it may impair the patient’s compliance with preventive measures, screening, and treatment; undermine the physician-patient relationship; exacerbate fears and concerns; and possibly lead patients to rely on misleading, incomplete, or simply incorrect information, turning away from evidence-based medicine.
Cappella and Street made these points in an essay recently published in JAMA. The essay marks the beginning of the JAMA series “Communicating Medicine.”
“Helping clinicians deliver accurate information more effectively can lead to better-informed patients,” wrote Anne R. Cappola, MD, professor of endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism at the University of Pennsylvania, and Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, in an accompanying editorial. Cappola and Bibbins-Domingo also are editors of JAMA.
To establish a common understanding between physician and patient, Cappella and Street identified the following four responsibilities of the physician:
- Discover what the patient understands and why
- Provide accurate information in an understandable manner
- Promote the credibility of the information
- Verify whether the patient has understood.
“Research has shown that although medical facts need to be the basis for the clinician’s core message, those facts are more effectively communicated in a patient-clinician relationship characterized by trust and cooperation and when the information is presented in a manner that fosters patient understanding,” wrote Cappella and Street. This approach includes using interpreters for patients who do not fluently speak the physician’s language and supplementing explanations with simple written information, images, and videos.
Patients generally believe their physician’s information, and most patients view their physicians as a trustworthy source. Trust is based on the belief that the physician has the patient’s best interests at heart.
However, patients may be distrustful of their physician’s information if it contradicts their own belief system or personal experiences or because they inherently distrust the medical profession.
In addition, patients are less willing to accept explanations and recommendations if they feel misunderstood, judged, discriminated against, or rushed by the physician. The basis for effective communication is a relationship with patients that is built on trust and respect. Empirically supported strategies for expressing respect and building trust include the following:
- Affirming the patient’s values
- Anticipating and addressing false or misleading information
- Using simple, jargon-free language
- Embedding facts into a story, rather than presenting the scientific evidence dryly.
“Conveying factual material using these techniques makes facts more engaging and memorable,” wrote Cappella and Street. It is crucial to inquire about and consider the patient’s perspective, health beliefs, assumptions, concerns, needs, and stories in the conversation.
This story was translated from the Medscape German edition using several editorial tools, including AI, as part of the process. Human editors reviewed this content before publication.
Source link : https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/patients-want-facts-delivered-personal-story-2024a10003ha?src=rss
Publish date : 2024-02-21 12:15:46
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