NEW UC DAVIS PROGRAM AIMS TO IMPROVE COMMUNICATION BETWEEN
The communication shortcomings that arise during a typical office visit often stem from the different
intentions that clinicians and patients bring to these encounters.
For example, patients frequently want to tell the "story" of illnesses and are concerned with their personal
meanings. on the other hand, often are focused on quickly obtaining histories and deriving the facts.
Bridging this gap, improving the exchange of information and creating an atmosphere in which both health-care
providers and patients gain greater satisfaction is the object of a new clinician-patient communication
program launched in January at UC Davis Medical Center.
"This program recognizes the significant communication skills our physicians and nurses bring to the
bedside and is designed to take them to the next highest level from great to excellent. It emphasizes
that communication is an integral, important part of the care process that cannot be delegated, and that
employing new and improved communication skills increases patient and clinician satisfaction," said Alan
Brooker, medical director, managed care, at UC Davis.
Through a series of workshops, physicians, nurses and medical students are re-examining the importance
of good communication and how it is an essential part of health. The sessions describe extensive research
showing that good communication allows for:
Conversely, studies have shown that bad communication leads to poor patient care and an increased likelihood
of malpractice claims.
The workshops provide participants with practical tips and tools revolving around a set of key communication
tasks known as "the four Es:" engage, empathize, educate and enlist. The overall objective of the four
Es is to allow clinicians to more easily discuss patients' feelings, values and concerns, going beyond
the typical recitation of symptoms.