ST Medical Monday: "What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear"

Feb 6, 2017

We are joined on this edition of StudioTulsa Medical Monday by Dr. Danielle Ofri, an associate professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine who has cared for patients at Bellevue Hospital for more than two decades. Her previous book was "What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine," and she joins us to discuss her new book, which follows up on that one. It's called "What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear." As was noted of this book by Kirkus Reviews, it shows us "why communication between doctor and patient is the most critical element of medical care.... [Ofri's] revealing doctor-patient stories often make her seem like the doctor that every patient wishes they had, and she draws on patient accounts to illustrate the problems that can arise in communication between doctor and patient. This book, however, goes far beyond Ofri's personal experiences with patients. She delves into the relevant research on communication, citing some ingenious experiments on listening. Studies show that the better the listener, the better the speaker, and listening is one of the hardest skills that a doctor has to master. But it can be taught, and Ofri reports that medical schools across the country are developing formal curricula to that end. However, patients, the author asserts, are the best teachers in that department, and the many stories she includes about her own struggles to communicate bear this out.... [This book makes] a much-needed, convincing argument that, regarding doctor-patient communication, the stakes are very high and that what patients say is all too often not what doctors hear -- and vice versa."