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Improving communication between doctors and patients

pizzo-09-150.jpgI was speaking recently with a friend who, concerned about his father's health, accompanied his dad to the doctor's office. The doctor asked his dad how he felt, and the dad replied that everything was fine. That seemed to satisfy the doctor until my friend spoke up, pointing out the weakness in one of his father's arms as well as increased memory problems. Why wasn't the doctor better able to spot the father's problems during multiple visits in recent months, my friend wondered?

Poor patient-physician communication is a problem that many people experience. Philip Pizzo, MD, dean of Stanford's School of Medicine, has co-authored a commentary on the need for improvements in this area in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In a Q&A in today's issue of Inside Stanford Medicine, he talks about the problem, noting that, "Listening to the patient is not the same as simply asking questions and getting answers. It begins with allowing patients to tell their stories - and to have the time to do so."

Pizzo also addresses the ways that academic medical centers like Stanford can help solve this problem.

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