Talking With Patients Is Better Than Talking to Patients
This article requires a subscription to view the full text. If you have a subscription you may use the login form below to view the article. Access to this article can also be purchased.
Patients manage chronic illnesses, clinicians don’t. Each day, patients decide which medications to administer, which activities to participate in, and which foods to eat. In making these decisions, they try to arrive at a somewhat rational balancing of hopes for their futures and demands of their presents. They must decide what to do with the understanding that their knowledge of the illness is imperfect and is smaller than that of the people who wrote the prescriptions and made the recommendations. And so, their decisions must inevitably include a judgment about the clinician. How much can I rely on what he or she told me? Does what he told me help me with my hopes? Does what she told me fit my present?
See Article by Schoenthaler et al
There is a growing body of literature that teaches clinicians how to communicate with patients in a way that helps patients make those inevitable judgments and achieve better health outcomes. The article by Schoenthaler et al1 in this issue of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes adds to that literature. Although its lessons apply to all patients, it also suggests persuasively that better communication might help mitigate black health disparities.
The authors audiotaped clinic visits among 92 hypertensive patients and 27 primary …