A handy guide for health care professionals seeking to improve patient communication and care.
Written by a group of doctors, clinical psychologists and health care providers at the Cleveland Clinic's Lerner College of Medicine, this manual is “predicated upon the belief that the relationship between a physician and patient has the capacity to heal,” which leads to greater job satisfaction for providers. Good communication, according to the authors, depends upon an authentic relationship between the patient and health care provider. The first chapter provides an overview of “relationship-centered communication,” citing the work of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Excellence in Healthcare Communication, which developed the “relationship establishment, development, and engagement” model for communication. The REDE model highlights “the developmental nature of relationships and recommends specific skills to foster a personal connection” between doctor and patient. For example, the REDE model advises providers to show empathy using SAVE—support (“I’m here for you”), acknowledge (“This has been hard for you”), validate (“Anyone in your position would feel upset”) and emotion naming (“You seem sad”). The remaining chapters discuss time and emotional management in the medical interview; how to assess a patient’s health literacy; how to use Electronic Health Record technology without harming the doctor-patient relationship; how to interview a patient when his or her companion is present; and how to screen for violence and demonstrate cultural sensitivity. Each chapter also includes a skills checklist, guiding questions and a topical summary, making this a quick and practical resource for providers. Not intended to replace textbooks on patient communication, this well-footnoted guide nevertheless serves as a handy reference that will remind health care professionals of the best approaches to take with their patients. The quick tips, mnemonic acronyms and mantras—e.g., find the “heart of the visit”—will make the medical interview and doctor-patient relationship seem natural and easy.
An invaluable guide to acquiring the kind of bedside manner that fosters happier and healthier patients, not to mention gratified health care providers.