Doctor-patient communication

Roberta Milanese, Simona Milanese

Il tocco, il rimedio,
la parola

La comunicazione medico-paziente
come strumento terapeutico

editore: Ponte alle Grazie
eBook


“Each patient ought to feel somewhat the better
after the physician’s visit, irrespective of the nature of the illness”

Warfield Theobald Longcope

The past century has seen many scientific and technological advancements in different areas, including medicine. We now have sophisticated diagnostic tools, effective therapies, accurate preventive measures, and medical knowledge is rapidly expanding: this should be the golden age of medicine. Unfortunately, especially regarding chronic diseases, the present day challenge, results of this huge technological effort have been disappointing.

One of the main reasons for this crisis is the deteriorating relationship between doctors and their patients, always considered a crucial part of the cure.

In today’s disease-centered model, the Hippocratic covenant between doctor and patient disappears: the physician deals directly with the disease, leaving the patient aside. The patient is treated more like a “sick organ” and less like a person.
This attitude, with the inevitable hyper-specialization, lack of training in communication, long working hours and never-ending paperwork, has deprived medicine of its humanity. Losing the emotional connection, the physician is becoming a technician and a bureaucrat, unable to handle suffering.

This unhealthy relationship becomes evident in the ever-increasing conflict between doctors and patients, reflected in the sudden increase in malpractice suits.

Effective communication and good relationship are essential to patient care, being both indirect and direct prognostic factors. Indirect, by affecting patients’ compliance and direct, by inducing positive expectations.

Good communication impacts on treatment outcomes, patients’ quality of life and doctors’ self-efficacy, decreases burnout; lowers healthcare costs, limits conflicts and malpractice suits, saves time. Therefore communication and relational skills should no longer be considered accessories, but fundamentals of the medical profes­sion.

Hippocrates said “It’s far more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has”. After 2500 years, his teaching couldn’t be truer: despite all scientific discoveries and technological advances, human nature has not changed and the fundamental tenets of medicine remain “The touch, the remedy, the word”.

The strategic model applies perfectly to the healthcare setting, where communication skills must always complement technical ones.
Programs are directed to all healthcare professions (physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, and other healthcare workers), dealing with:

  • Effective communication with patients and their relatives
  • Increasing compliance
  • Using communication as a cure in itself
  • Preventing conflicts with patients and decreasing malpractice suits
  • Managing conflicts with coworkers
  • Preventing burnout syndrome

Comunicazione medico paziente

Roberta Milanese, Simona Milanese

Il tocco, il rimedio,
la parola

La comunicazione medico-paziente
come strumento terapeutico

editore: Ponte alle Grazie
eBook

2500 years ago, Hippocrates stated that only “the touch, the remedy, the word” could truly heal. After more than 2000 years, his teaching is still largely ignored. Doctors today have powerful diagnostic and therapeutic tools, thanks to scientific and technological achievements, but, paradoxically, have lost the ability to care. Medical specializations, lack of training in communication, busy schedules and never-ending paperwork, have deprived medicine of its humanity. The authors deal with the different psychological aspects of the doctor-patient relationship: how to increase patients’ compliance, how to take advantage of placebo effect, avoid nocebo effect and limit overdiagnosis, typical of our hypochondriac society.
The authors’ approach is strategic, with an ample variety of suggestions on how to elude therapeutic traps. Good communication increases treatment efficacy directly, improving patients’ quality of life and the health system as a whole. The strategic doctor makes the patient feel better, feeling better himself as a result, escaping the widespread burnout syndrome. For the strategic doctor, “to cure” means caring about the person, instead of the disease.

Doctor-patient communication

Roberta Milanese, Simona Milanese

Il tocco, il rimedio,
la parola

La comunicazione medico-paziente
come strumento terapeutico

editore: Ponte alle Grazie
eBook

“Each patient ought to feel somewhat the better
after the physician’s visit, irrespective of the nature of the illness”

Warfield Theobald Longcope

The past century has seen many scientific and technological advancements in different areas, including medicine. We now have sophisticated diagnostic tools, effective therapies, accurate preventive measures, and medical knowledge is rapidly expanding: this should be the golden age of medicine. Unfortunately, especially regarding chronic diseases, the present day challenge, results of this huge technological effort have been disappointing.

One of the main reasons for this crisis is the deteriorating relationship between doctors and their patients, always considered a crucial part of the cure.

In today’s disease-centered model, the Hippocratic covenant between doctor and patient disappears: the physician deals directly with the disease, leaving the patient aside. The patient is treated more like a “sick organ” and less like a person.
This attitude, with the inevitable hyper-specialization, lack of training in communication, long working hours and never-ending paperwork, has deprived medicine of its humanity. Losing the emotional connection, the physician is becoming a technician and a bureaucrat, unable to handle suffering.

This unhealthy relationship becomes evident in the ever-increasing conflict between doctors and patients, reflected in the sudden increase in malpractice suits.

Effective communication and good relationship are essential to patient care, being both indirect and direct prognostic factors. Indirect, by affecting patients’ compliance and direct, by inducing positive expectations.

Good communication impacts on treatment outcomes, patients’ quality of life and doctors’ self-efficacy, decreases burnout; lowers healthcare costs, limits conflicts and malpractice suits, saves time. Therefore communication and relational skills should no longer be considered accessories, but fundamentals of the medical profes­sion.

Hippocrates said “It’s far more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has”. After 2500 years, his teaching couldn’t be truer: despite all scientific discoveries and technological advances, human nature has not changed and the fundamental tenets of medicine remain “The touch, the remedy, the word”.

The strategic model applies perfectly to the healthcare setting, where communication skills must always complement technical ones.
Programs are directed to all healthcare professions (physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, and other healthcare workers), dealing with:

  • Effective communication with patients and their relatives
  • Increasing compliance
  • Using communication as a cure in itself
  • Preventing conflicts with patients and decreasing malpractice suits
  • Managing conflicts with coworkers
  • Preventing burnout syndrome

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