About the Discussion

What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear: Improving Caregiver Communication

Sir William Osler advised long ago, "Just listen to your patient, he is telling you the diagnosis." Many patients complain about not being heard, and much of the research about clinical communication focuses on how well the patient listens and thus "adheres" to the clinician's directions. This Open Forum, prompted by a preview reading of Danielle Ofri's forthcoming book, "What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear," tries to refocus on what the patient has to say -- and how to be certain that you hear the patient's story. Our guests include clinicians with a special interest in patient communication and researchers in the area. Among what we plan to discuss will be the issues of active listening, conversational structure, and apologizing for errors. You, the forum participant, will doubtless guide the experts to explore other questions of clinical importance.