What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear Info

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Can refocusing conversations between doctors and their
patients lead to better health?

Despite modern
medicine’s infatuation with high-tech gadgetry, the single most
powerful diagnostic tool is the doctor-patient conversation, which can
uncover the lion’s share of illnesses. However, what patients say
and what doctors hear are often two vastly different
things.
Patients, anxious to convey their symptoms, feel an
urgency to “make their case” to their doctors. Doctors,
under pressure to be efficient, multitask while patients speak and often
miss the key elements. Add in stereotypes, unconscious bias,
conflicting agendas, and fear of lawsuits and the risk of misdiagnosis
and medical errors multiplies dangerously.
Though the gulf
between what patients say and what doctors hear is often wide, Dr.
Danielle Ofri proves that it doesn’t have to be. Through the
powerfully resonant human stories that Dr. Ofri’s writing is
renowned for, she explores the high-stakes world of doctor-patient
communication that we all must navigate. Reporting on the latest
research studies and interviewing scholars, doctors, and patients, Dr.
Ofri reveals how better communication can lead to better health for all
of us.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear:

2

Jul 13, 2017

This is the first of Danielle Ofri's books I did not finish. Normally her books are full of engaging stories from her own clinical practice. Not so here. Most of this read like a dry textbook. Ofri provides stories of doctors and patients to illustrate points about communication in medical contexts. I didn't find any of these "points" new or surprising. None would affect my exchanges with my own GP. Some of the doctor-patient exchanges Ofri described just seemed so ho-hum predictable that I This is the first of Danielle Ofri's books I did not finish. Normally her books are full of engaging stories from her own clinical practice. Not so here. Most of this read like a dry textbook. Ofri provides stories of doctors and patients to illustrate points about communication in medical contexts. I didn't find any of these "points" new or surprising. None would affect my exchanges with my own GP. Some of the doctor-patient exchanges Ofri described just seemed so ho-hum predictable that I wondered why they were included at all. The writing felt chirpy and cliche. Gone was the medical memoir feel of Ofri's earlier work. I can see I'm in the minority here, but I just wasn't engaged. Glad that I had just borrowed this book from the library. ...more
3

Feb 19, 2017

I'm a Japanese⇔English medical interpreter so when I saw the title of Ofri's latest book I cheered. Doctor-patient communication - she's talking about my life!

Medical conversations are examined from all sides. Is it better to let a complaining patient get their whole litany out at once, or should each point be addressed as it comes up? Can the placebo affect be utilized in conversation? How can stereotypes be overcome? Is it ever okay to lie to a patient?

Each topic is covered with both anecdotes I'm a Japanese⇔English medical interpreter so when I saw the title of Ofri's latest book I cheered. Doctor-patient communication - she's talking about my life!

Medical conversations are examined from all sides. Is it better to let a complaining patient get their whole litany out at once, or should each point be addressed as it comes up? Can the placebo affect be utilized in conversation? How can stereotypes be overcome? Is it ever okay to lie to a patient?

Each topic is covered with both anecdotes based on Ofri's patients (vignettes!) and research studies. All kinds of strategies to improve communication are covered, from how to listen actively to when disclosing personal details is a good idea. I especially like how the studies are dissected journal club style, with weaknesses pointed out along with the strengths. For example, one study found that doctors that scored low on an empathy test had patients with worse outcomes, but:

Maybe the low-empathy doctors had dismal hygiene and the resulting BO was too distracting for the patients to pay attention to their diabetes. Maybe the offices of the high-empathy doctors offered cloth gowns rather than paper gowns, so their patients weren't experiencing frostbite and thus better able to hear what the doctor was saying. You never know what the confounding factors might be...
As an interpreter I enjoyed the stories and insight but didn't come away with many strategies I can use myself. It's part of the job - I speak other people's words and can't outright change the direction of the conversation. I did pick up some tips, though, particularly how using different wording can change how information is received.

What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear is a trove of information for healthcare professionals, who can expect to learn practice-changing pearls, and frequent patients will appreciate the peek into their doctor's head. If you are not one of those two groups, though, you may want to start with a different Ofri book.

Thanks to Beacon Press and Edelweiss for providing a review copy. ...more
5

Feb 12, 2017

I found What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear by Danielle Ofri, MD by pure serendipity doing a search of my own audiobook narrator Ann M. Richardson. That my book, How to Pronounce Drug Names: A Visual Approach to Preventing Medication Errors How to Pronounce Drug Names: A Visual Approach to Preventing Medication Errors adjacent to this book, showed there was reader interest in patient self-care. I liked that a physician and pharmacist were next to each other, even if on an electronic shelf. We I found What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear by Danielle Ofri, MD by pure serendipity doing a search of my own audiobook narrator Ann M. Richardson. That my book, How to Pronounce Drug Names: A Visual Approach to Preventing Medication Errors How to Pronounce Drug Names: A Visual Approach to Preventing Medication Errors adjacent to this book, showed there was reader interest in patient self-care. I liked that a physician and pharmacist were next to each other, even if on an electronic shelf. We provide different points of view to improve the patient experience within the current health care system.

Ofri’s approach was to go into complex medical cases and communication mishaps within them. She provides a narrative from the physician’s point-of-view, and patient’s when available. While the book in some ways can speak to both patient and physician alike, the author was put in a position of choosing whether to simplify her language to make it more accessible to the reader, but lose the precision and ethos that comes with exacting high level vocabulary. While there are occasional medical jargon references to procedures and prescriptions, those don’t hamper the reader. it’s the lexical level of the book that may make it a bit of a challenging read from time to time. This is to be expected of the editor of an important literary journal, however, and one can’t fault her for using precision with terms like: promulgating, cogitated, equivocating, enumerated, cerulean, sine qua non, and Sisyphean rather than Zinsser plain language.

Where I think physicians and other health professionals will struggle with the audiobook is that an audiobook is a quite different medium than the printed form. Since this is a Whispersync offering, print and audio match perfectly. With a table of contents in the print book, one can easily skip to a section that catches one’s eye. In an audiobook, often the reader is forced to start at the beginning. A patient or layperson would definitely enjoy the whole story collection. But this book is not written for a busy health professional to skip around. It’s meant to be savored from beginning to end. Ask any academic researcher. They scan from introduction to results, and then if interested, back to the methods. In reading Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages, I cared first about my wife’s, then mine and skipped to those sections in the audiobook.

I would propose that someone who wants to be efficient with the book, or even teach from it in a semester-long course, start with Chapter 16. This last chapter provides about 10 minutes of a case study with the 20 minutes of thesis akin to an academic article’s abstract and introduction. I would then move to Chapter 4, where Ofri writes about Debra Roter, and her pioneering efforts in studying patient / physician communication that serves as a methods and results section. A research minded health professional would enjoy the solutions to dealing with 300 audio transcripts, building relevant metrics, and how to efficiently help medical students turn the mirror on themselves and their face-to-face communication with patients.

What Ofri proposes, the introspection towards a more equal patient and doctor relationship is certainly part of a revolution, but a necessary one in an outcomes based environment. Ofri uses an analogy of the disruption that came from racial and gender inequality in that the status quo is upset when relationships, such as that between doctor and patient is upset and power shifted.
The book is well researched, the narratives deftly told, and the content relevant to everyday practice across more than just the physician’s office. Notable moments include her writing about her Cello and the art versus science of medicine, the improved pain relief scores of patients with the opioid crisis with conversation and encouragement, and the importance of patients seeing pain medications going into the line. I laughed out loud at Metro Center under Washington D.C., maybe inappropriately, at the Tylenol #5 story, a decision to try the placebo effect on an intractable patient. As a pharmacist I simply appreciated the power of medicine. The meeting of the diabetic patient with her single-minded physician is a bit heartbreaking that someone tries so hard to help the patient only to make her want to leave his care. The story ends up with a happy ending but it is a clear case of seeing a motivator (one who directs) with a patient who wants a facilitator (one who creates an environment to choose her direction).

The book is an important one, a worthy read, but don’t try to read it quickly, it’s very much a teaching book, take the lessons in stride a few at a time.

About the narrator
Danielle Ofri could have narrated the book herself. As a presenter she is engaging, funny, and can hold a crowd’s attention. However, she chose to use Ann M. Richardson for I believe the same reasons I chose her as a narrator. Sustaining a crowd in a 30 or 60-minute monolog is one thing, but to maintain a reader’s interest for nine hours of audio requires a referral. Ann M. Richardson expertly played the parts of physician and patient, making the medical and communicative cases an easy listen. ...more
4

Sep 11, 2016

This is the 2nd book by Danielle Ofri I've read - this one and also What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine and both of them have been fascinating reading. Dr. Ofri gives those of us who only interact with doctors as patients a glimpse into what is happening on the other side of the interaction. In this book, she relates experiences from her own practice and other physicians that demonstrate the problems doctors and patients have in communicating with each other. She also This is the 2nd book by Danielle Ofri I've read - this one and also What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine and both of them have been fascinating reading. Dr. Ofri gives those of us who only interact with doctors as patients a glimpse into what is happening on the other side of the interaction. In this book, she relates experiences from her own practice and other physicians that demonstrate the problems doctors and patients have in communicating with each other. She also reviews research into the issue of doctor-patient communication and some possible improvements.

I really enjoy reading her books; her writing style is both conversational and scientific depending on what the subject is. I really enjoy the case histories, but the chapters about possible solutions to the problem of doctor/patient miscommunication were quite interesting too. I certainly came away with ideas of ways to speak to my physician when next I have reason to see her. ...more
4

Jan 30, 2017

I entered the giveaway for What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear thinking that it was some sort of how-to book to help patients talk to their doctors. It is actually something even better than that. Dr. Ofri has written a thoughtful and well-researched book which offers insights for everyone involved in medicine, whether as caregiver or patient. Beyond that, it also offers a view of the communication and perception related issues which plague medicine on a broader cultural level.

I think that I entered the giveaway for What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear thinking that it was some sort of how-to book to help patients talk to their doctors. It is actually something even better than that. Dr. Ofri has written a thoughtful and well-researched book which offers insights for everyone involved in medicine, whether as caregiver or patient. Beyond that, it also offers a view of the communication and perception related issues which plague medicine on a broader cultural level.

I think that everyone could benefit from reading this.

I received a complimentary copy of this book via a Goodreads giveaway. Many thanks to all involved in providing me with this opportunity. ...more
4

Dec 12, 2016

I received this book from a Goodreads give away. Exploring the dynamics between patient and doctor Danielle Ofri discovers that in spite of good intention on both parties doctors don't always understand the meaning of what their patients are saying and visa versa. There is a great difference between listening and understanding. I would urge any patient with chronic or serious disease to read this book and I would encourage doctors to also read it. As a person with Lupus and Rheumatoid Disease I received this book from a Goodreads give away. Exploring the dynamics between patient and doctor Danielle Ofri discovers that in spite of good intention on both parties doctors don't always understand the meaning of what their patients are saying and visa versa. There is a great difference between listening and understanding. I would urge any patient with chronic or serious disease to read this book and I would encourage doctors to also read it. As a person with Lupus and Rheumatoid Disease this really opened my eyes to changing my communication methods with my doctors which will make the care and management of my disease much less stressful and much improved.
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3

Nov 19, 2016

A really honest look at how doctors and patients communicate. Dr. Ofri examines some of the reasons the two often aren't on the same page and how it impacts the care the patient receives. She even throws herself in the mix, describing examples of her own missed opportunities to understand what was really going on with her patient. I admit I liked the case studies more than the description of the applicable research, but they come together to offer solutions for how to minimize miscommunications. A really honest look at how doctors and patients communicate. Dr. Ofri examines some of the reasons the two often aren't on the same page and how it impacts the care the patient receives. She even throws herself in the mix, describing examples of her own missed opportunities to understand what was really going on with her patient. I admit I liked the case studies more than the description of the applicable research, but they come together to offer solutions for how to minimize miscommunications. For me, it also emphasized that doctors, like everyone else, have different strengths and weaknesses, and the first important piece is to find a good match for you. ...more
5

Feb 11, 2017

Fascinating, full of compelling stories. In a world where speed and instant access to information are emphasized, lovely to read a book that focuses on the importance of listening and communicating, particularly in the tricky area of healthcare.
4

Jan 18, 2018

This was a very enlightening book. As someone who has worked in the medical profession and has also been a patient with chronic mystery illness, I had a TON of frustration, anger, and disgust of the complete brokenness of the modern medical system.

This book completely helped me see doctors more fully as human beings, who despite having intimidatingly high intelligence, still have the same struggles and shortcomings the rest of us humans do. Its too easy to forget that.

It helped me see the This was a very enlightening book. As someone who has worked in the medical profession and has also been a patient with chronic mystery illness, I had a TON of frustration, anger, and disgust of the complete brokenness of the modern medical system.

This book completely helped me see doctors more fully as human beings, who despite having intimidatingly high intelligence, still have the same struggles and shortcomings the rest of us humans do. Its too easy to forget that.

It helped me see the immense pressure the "system" puts on them which strips them of their humanity. This allowed me to fully let go of my "blame" I had put on all the medical practitioners who I feel have failed me. It helped me truly understand that the issues I had been having with my doctor-patient relationships were not as simple as being either "my fault" or "my doctor's." These are UNIVERSAL issues; they just play out as personal ones.

I can see in retrospect the reasons for the giant gulf I felt between me and my doctors after reading this book, no matter how I tried to get what I needed to get across. It really takes understanding another's perspective to know what is missing in your communications and to remedy that. This book provides just that for specifically the patient-doctor relationship.

Danielle Ofri's book gives me hope that medicine has the potential to come up to speed from the stone ages I feel it has been eternally stuck in. If there are doctors like her who have reclaimed their humanity, put the human connection back into medical care, are showing others how to do this and why its important...well, then medicine is already coming out of the stone ages.

Thank you for writing this book, Dr. Ofri. You are indeed a change-maker, on a societal level and on a personal level. You have certainly helped me positively reshape my story about my medical misadventures. ...more
5

Feb 12, 2017

Two chronic medical conditions Ive had since childhood keep me in a regular rotation of doctor offices. I realize Im not a perfect communicator as a patient, but Ive also had a few doctors who werent great either, leaving me feeling frustrated, unnecessarily scared, or not listened to. I read What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear to get a doctors perspective to see if theres anything I can do to improve these conversations.

Solomon discusses the many things doctors are thinking about and Two chronic medical conditions I’ve had since childhood keep me in a regular rotation of doctor offices. I realize I’m not a perfect communicator as a patient, but I’ve also had a few doctors who weren’t great either, leaving me feeling frustrated, unnecessarily scared, or not listened to. I read “What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear” to get a doctor’s perspective to see if there’s anything I can do to improve these conversations.

Solomon discusses the many things doctors are thinking about and distracted by during a visit that affect how they listen to and speak to a patient, all the vulnerabilities and baggage a patient brings to a visit that affects how they listen to and speak to a doctor, and how good or bad communication affects treatment and outcomes. Particularly interesting was a chapter on how the way disclosure of medical errors (some of which result in death) are handled can either increase or decrease lawsuits and overall financial payouts at hospitals. Solomon is honest in how bad doctors can be at communication, but is hopeful that medical schools can start emphasizing better communication, and she provides specific methods on how to achieve that. Scientific studies and real life patient stories are used to illustrate and support each point in the book.

I can’t think of any obvious flaws to mention, and the only way I think the book could be improved would be to add some summary notes at the end of the chapters or at the end of the book. Overall an enjoyable and enlightening read that has left me with a better understanding of what’s going on in my mind and my doctor’s mind during visits. I’d recommend it to anyone that frequents doctor offices or anyone who is a medical professional.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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4

Sep 10, 2019

"The doctor-patient conversation is the most important diagnostic tool in medicine." That's Dr. Danielle Ofri's thesis, which is explored through a combination of her personal cases with patients, interviews with doctors, patients and researchers, and well-presented data. With a cognitive-psychological focus (like her book What Doctors Feel, which I also plan to read), and some touching moments, it's personal and candid, and Dr. Ofri's writing has a fluency and colorful wit in the stylistic vein "The doctor-patient conversation is the most important diagnostic tool in medicine." That's Dr. Danielle Ofri's thesis, which is explored through a combination of her personal cases with patients, interviews with doctors, patients and researchers, and well-presented data. With a cognitive-psychological focus (like her book What Doctors Feel, which I also plan to read), and some touching moments, it's personal and candid, and Dr. Ofri's writing has a fluency and colorful wit in the stylistic vein of Steven Pinker. A book for doctors and patients. ...more
3

Mar 31, 2017

a bit overwhelming with all the studies but gave much food for thought.I went much better prepared to my des appt this week with a written list of thoughts nd questions.
5

Jun 09, 2018

This should be mandatory reading for everyone in the medical profession. Give this to every medical student! Helped me retrospectively understand some of my encounters with doctors that went wrong, and as a patient, it helps me understand the difficulties doctors may encounter in patient communication and has equipped me with some tools to steer the conversation in the right direction.
5

Feb 12, 2017

I have found a new favorite author! At least in this book!

I have been saying for years that a physician needed to write a book that addressed the communication needed between a doctor and his/her patient. As a nurse, I am often confronted with patients that tell me their doctor doesn't understand them, that their doctor doesn't listen to a thing they say, that their doctor is in cahoots with big pharma and gets a kickback on giving them drugs and that's why they prescribe medication that doesn't I have found a new favorite author! At least in this book!

I have been saying for years that a physician needed to write a book that addressed the communication needed between a doctor and his/her patient. As a nurse, I am often confronted with patients that tell me their doctor doesn't understand them, that their doctor doesn't listen to a thing they say, that their doctor is in cahoots with big pharma and gets a kickback on giving them drugs and that's why they prescribe medication that doesn't work but keeps them coming back for more visits. And it goes on and on!

Ofri addresses these concerns. And she tells how both physician and patient can work together to come to some wonderful advances in patient care.

I can't praise Ofri enough for writing this book. It should become mandatory reading for all physicians, and medical staff! If we had been required to read this during my years in nursing school, it would have saved me a lot of trial and error before I came to a method that works for me. As I am sure there are many physicians who have read this and felt the same!

I give this book Five Stars.


And a big Thumbs Up.



I also give this my personal Highly Recommended Award.





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3

Sep 30, 2017

The author's emphasis on the doctor-patient communication is an important one. Without good communication, "the chances of achieving effective medical outcomes plummet." She provides many examples to illustrate the problems that stem from the individuals involved, the technology invasion into the office visit and the short visit time. Appreciate her calling out the problem, hope others listen.
3

Jan 30, 2020

Ive been thinking a lot about communication lately, and this book addresses many of the same concepts Ive been exploring. Somehow I didnt expect so much about latent bias issues and I did expect more about medically specific issues- ie I am feeling anxious and downplay a symptom, does the doctor even recognize that it is a symptom? There was none of that. There was, however, a lot of good information about active listening and avoiding communication pitfalls. Truly, I think this book is more for I’ve been thinking a lot about communication lately, and this book addresses many of the same concepts I’ve been exploring. Somehow I didn’t expect so much about latent bias issues and I did expect more about medically specific issues- ie I am feeling anxious and downplay a symptom, does the doctor even recognize that it is a symptom? There was none of that. There was, however, a lot of good information about active listening and avoiding communication pitfalls. Truly, I think this book is more for the doctors than the patients. As a result I didn’t really get the perspective I was hoping for. ...more
4

Jan 19, 2019

This is Dr. Ofri's latest missive in her insightful analysis of how physicians and patients communicate (or often how they DON'T communicate). The points made stem from her own examples of patient encounters from her real-life practice associated with Bellevue Hospital in New York City. She relates an honest account of her own failures when he communication to a patient was sub-optimal but the larger narrative running throughout the book is an on-going saga between a young patient with a This is Dr. Ofri's latest missive in her insightful analysis of how physicians and patients communicate (or often how they DON'T communicate). The points made stem from her own examples of patient encounters from her real-life practice associated with Bellevue Hospital in New York City. She relates an honest account of her own failures when he communication to a patient was sub-optimal but the larger narrative running throughout the book is an on-going saga between a young patient with a horrible and very uncommon/unusual disease and a very challenging communication style and a female physician who went way above and beyond to try to work with her. Any primary care physician reading this will completely identify with the inherent challenges such a patient entails. ...more
3

Feb 25, 2017

I am a big fan of Ofri, and her writing from the point of view as an expert in the medical field. I learned a few things about why interactions between patients and doctors sometimes deteriorate, and what each of those parties can do to repair relations or at least take the most out of each appointment.

However, she tended to hammer the same points over and over with research and statistics that basically said: Communication is key.
I loved the anecdotes. I would have liked to see a bit of an I am a big fan of Ofri, and her writing from the point of view as an expert in the medical field. I learned a few things about why interactions between patients and doctors sometimes deteriorate, and what each of those parties can do to repair relations or at least take the most out of each appointment.

However, she tended to hammer the same points over and over with research and statistics that basically said: Communication is key.
I loved the anecdotes. I would have liked to see a bit of an exploration of the fields of medicine that suffer most from these miscommunications (internists, like Ofri, are obviously elaborated upon as well as oncology being fraught with drama and seriousness, but what about pediatrics? Obstetrics and gynecology? Neurology?) But overall a book I'm glad to have read. ...more
5

Jul 27, 2019

An invaluable book and highly recommended for anyone in healthcare!

Effective communication between patients and medical providers is critically important, but it is sometimes undervalued in favor of more scientific diagnostic tools. Danielle Ofri, with an engaging style incorporating both personal stories and scientific studies, illustrates why it is a mistake to disregard this simple but powerful tool. Communication forms the foundation for the entire patient/provider relationship, and when An invaluable book and highly recommended for anyone in healthcare!

Effective communication between patients and medical providers is critically important, but it is sometimes undervalued in favor of more ‘scientific’ diagnostic tools. Danielle Ofri, with an engaging style incorporating both personal stories and scientific studies, illustrates why it is a mistake to disregard this simple but powerful tool. Communication forms the foundation for the entire patient/provider relationship, and when done effectively saves time, money and lives.

The book is effective in reinforcing the importance of prioritizing communication, but more importantly it shares a wealth information about what makes for quality communication and practical advice on how to achieve it. As a nurse who will soon be returning to school in order to pursue my FNP, I consider this crucial education which will benefit me and all my future patients.

My only critique of this book is that it would be helpful to have a summary/conclusion at the end, briefly reviewing the main takeaways. Lacking this, I flipped back through and took notes on my own, in order to help me better apply the excellent lessons contained herein. ...more
4

Feb 24, 2017

The target audience is healthcare providers. But it was an interesting and educational read anyway. My 3 criticisms are:

-I didn't like the narrator. She's a good narrator. I just think her style is a mismatch for this particular book. It felt like she was reading a bedtime story to children.

-Dr. Ofri didn't address clinicians minimizing and even outright ignoring patient concerns. I was hoping this book would shed some light on this problem. Patients struggling to find a provider who will listen The target audience is healthcare providers. But it was an interesting and educational read anyway. My 3 criticisms are:

-I didn't like the narrator. She's a good narrator. I just think her style is a mismatch for this particular book. It felt like she was reading a bedtime story to children.

-Dr. Ofri didn't address clinicians minimizing and even outright ignoring patient concerns. I was hoping this book would shed some light on this problem. Patients struggling to find a provider who will listen to them and take them seriously, only to be vindicated by a valid diagnosis after years of suffering, are more common than you'd think. Definitely not the rule, but too common, none the less.

-Dr. Ofri needs a thesaurus. She probably used the word "salutary" close to 50 times and "sine qua non" around 20 times.

Those criticisms aside, this book did give me the opportunity to look at patient interactions from the medical side and it definitely engendered more compassion for what they are up against. I would recommend it for doctors and patients alike. ...more
5

Mar 22, 2017

I found it refreshing that a doctor would be so concerned with communication with patients that she would go to this much trouble to research the literature, interview patients and doctors and suggest that this simple tool is as valuable to successful medical outcomes as any other medical procedure. Dr. Ofri invites us to witness the lives of several remarkable people who are defined not by their illness but rather by their character and she highlights how a clarity in understanding of the I found it refreshing that a doctor would be so concerned with communication with patients that she would go to this much trouble to research the literature, interview patients and doctors and suggest that this simple tool is as valuable to successful medical outcomes as any other medical procedure. Dr. Ofri invites us to witness the lives of several remarkable people who are defined not by their illness but rather by their character and she highlights how a clarity in understanding of the patient's needs is far more important then knowing just the person's malady. She juxtaposes the barriers doctors face in communicating with patients with the desire of patients to be given the best possible treatment . On the patient's behalf, she quotes the author Anatole Broyard who wrote "To the typical physician, my illness is a routine incident in his rounds, while for me it's the crisis of my life." She goes on to say that rather than seeing the conversation between doctor and patient as the utilitarian humdrum of a visit, the conversation should be viewed as the single most important tool of medical care. The book is written in an engaging style with perhaps a few too many forced metaphors. I enjoyed reading it and wish it became widely read by those in the medical field. ...more
5

Oct 16, 2017

If you are in healthcare, a patient or a family member of a patient - this is a very good read. Tells both sides of the medicine spectrum related to communication and language. Does a great job using research within, without being to wordy or using unknown statistics. Just enough information to allow you to apply the study to the topic conversation in the chapter. The only downside to this book is how the term doctor is used. Doctor is not a title used only by MD's and the title can be If you are in healthcare, a patient or a family member of a patient - this is a very good read. Tells both sides of the medicine spectrum related to communication and language. Does a great job using research within, without being to wordy or using unknown statistics. Just enough information to allow you to apply the study to the topic conversation in the chapter. The only downside to this book is how the term doctor is used. Doctor is not a title used only by MD's and the title can be misleading. I know 'doctor' is the most common term used by society when referring to a physician, but if we are going to continue with titling people then we need to title them correctly throughout and the book misses the mark on this. I feel we should respect society enough that they know a physician from a Doctorate of physical therapy, PhD, EdD or multiple other disciplines that have doctorate level education. Overall this book will address the issues and provide a great knowledge base on this subject despite the wording. All heathcare professionals will be better at communication when they read this book and apply it to their patients. This is where sociology, communication (speaking, listening and hearing), understanding and counseling all meet within medicine. Excellent read. ...more
5

Jun 14, 2017

Danielle Ofri, MD challenges doctors and their patients to be more effective communicators.

Early in the book, Ofri tells us the stories of her encounters with patients early in her career. There are difficult patient and the empowered patients. Doctors need to know how to deal with both types.

Her stories reveal a major theme of the book: Given the freighted nature of the initial doctor-patient meeting, the facts working against a smooth interaction, and all the competing tensions for both Danielle Ofri, MD challenges doctors and their patients to be more effective communicators.

Early in the book, Ofri tells us the stories of her encounters with patients early in her career. There are “difficult patient” and the “empowered patients.” Doctors need to know how to deal with both types.

Her stories reveal a major theme of the book: “Given the freighted nature of the initial doctor-patient meeting, the facts working against a smooth interaction, and all the competing tensions for both parties, it is almost astounding that this weighty encounter is mediated by the most rudimentary technology: the conversation.”

“Conversation” is what we now call “communication.” She tells us that the newly accredited doctor “discovers how quickly you can take over a conversation with a patient.” (p. 45).

The strength of this book is the clear cases she uses in her book. For the purpose of this book, she wisely focuses on what happened between the patient and the doctor.

The author covers a wide range of topics with a continuous focus on challenges of doctor/patient interaction. She devotes chapters to difficult patients, ethics, and the lack of training in communication in medical school among many other topics. Ofri also reminds us how few steps there are between ineffective communication and malpractice.

This is a significant book for all people who work in the health field.
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5

Nov 24, 2019

This book was recommended for our Patient Communication course during my first quarter of physician assistant school and Dr. Ofri's insights were profound! Despite a few years of clinical experience prior to PA school, the conversations between patients and providers are in an entirely different league. After our first mock patient encounter to take a new patient history, the first thing the actor quoted during feedback was, "I really felt heard, and I would want someone like you as my PA": a This book was recommended for our Patient Communication course during my first quarter of physician assistant school and Dr. Ofri's insights were profound! Despite a few years of clinical experience prior to PA school, the conversations between patients and providers are in an entirely different league. After our first mock patient encounter to take a new patient history, the first thing the actor quoted during feedback was, "I really felt heard, and I would want someone like you as my PA": a bit shocking to hear, mainly because those feelings of being heard are exactly what Ofri orientates around throughout her book. While I, like most people, know (in general) how to communicate, having gleaned lessons during life (in general) and clinical experience (in general), the fact that mock patient "felt heard" is something I absolutely attribute to Ofri's book. Throughout the 16 chapters, Dr. Ofri offered multiple memorable, engaging examples from which I can now draw upon to enhance communication with patients, and I am so grateful I squeezed in time early enough in my career to learn from Dr. Ofri.

One thing in particular that I really came to respect about Dr. Ofri and her approach to medicine is that despite her years of experience, she truly is a student for life: she recalls multiple instances when study results were counterintuitive but that after implementing new communication strategies suggested in studies, she found positive results. Her drive to evolve is invaluable and I am so thankful for her willingness to humbly share her reflective insight from years of patient encounters.

In total, Dr. Ofri offers real solutions for how to approach and respond to challenging patient encounters; I am so grateful for Ofri's guidance and words of wisdom so that in the future I can provide more thorough, kind, and effective patient care. ...more
4

May 15, 2017

In "What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear," Dr. Danielle Ofri cogently analyzes the doctor-patient relationship. Although physical exams and diagnostic tests are important, there is no substitute for taking a complete history and engaging in fruitful dialogue. Of course, time is short in a busy office, but doctors should do their best to address their patients' concerns without interrupting or hurrying them. Why? When doctors dominate the conversation, they may miss vital information. Most In "What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear," Dr. Danielle Ofri cogently analyzes the doctor-patient relationship. Although physical exams and diagnostic tests are important, there is no substitute for taking a complete history and engaging in fruitful dialogue. Of course, time is short in a busy office, but doctors should do their best to address their patients' concerns without interrupting or hurrying them. Why? When doctors dominate the conversation, they may miss vital information. Most patients prefer to be partners in their care, not just cogs in a medical machine.

The author explains the basics of excellent communication: Doctors should do their best to maintain eye contact; ask open-ended questions; summarize key points; and encourage patients to speak out about "what motivates and what challenges them." Patients should consider bringing a short list of questions with them and, as an aid to memory, jotting down the answers. Although it seems counterintuitive, Ofri points out that malpractice suits are reduced and settled out of court more frequently when hospital administrators admit to medical errors made by their staff. Another important factor is bias. Is the doctor dismissive of "difficult" patients—especially those who are demanding or have trouble adhering to a particular regimen?

Ofri offers a host of examples, including some from her own experiences, to illustrate her points. She knows from her own practice how demanding a doctor's job can be. No one expects all medical professionals to be perennially cheerful, patient, and deferential. However, Dr. Ofri would like medical schools to teach communication skills to all of their students. If doctors were to behave less peremptorily and speak more clearly and compassionately to the men, women, and children who rely on them, it would be a win-win for everyone. "What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear" is a thought-provoking primer on how to make doctor-patient interactions more productive. ...more

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