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Patient Communication

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Most physicians conduct on average 200,000 patient consultations in their professional career. That’s a significant amount of time spent talking to patients. How they use this time is incredibly important.

It has been shown that when a physician communicates with their patients in a particular way there is an improvement in their general health. Patient satisfaction levels and diabetic control also improves and there is a reduction in their blood pressure.

Communications training is relatively new introduced in the early1990s. This means there are a lot of doctors who have not had the benefit of this training during medical school. And as a doctor progresses through the profession and takes on more responsibility, the challenges they are faced with get harder so there is always a need to review how they are using their time with their patients.

Ideally training should be ongoing as medicine is not static. Technology is moving forward such that diagnostics and therapeutics are becoming more complex. This in turn needs to be communicated to patients as we encourage them to become participants in their own healthcare.

The courses are tailored to the professional level and specific needs of the participating physicians. The workshop based courses involving role play and interactive discussions are lead by experts in patient communication who are also practising physicians themselves. Video is used to unpick a consultation to try to understand what happened in a particular consultation, always learning from each other about ways to improve. A significant part of this coaching is self reflection. The workshop provides physicians with the opportunity to take the time to look at their own practice, re-enact any difficult situations and learn other approaches from physicians at a similar professional level.

As physicians spend so much time in consultation with patients it is very easy to use established ways of talking to patients. Patient communication coaching is all about adaptability. How and when physicians can adapt and change their style in order to facilitate a discussion with a particular individual.

The courses cover basic communication skills for those at undergraduate level. For senior physicians where the challenges are more specific as well as more complex the course includes:

  • Breaking bad news
  • Talking about risk
  • Recruiting to trials
  • Explanation and gaining consent
  • Handling difficult relatives

Click here to learn how to adapt your communication style.

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