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February 2, 2005

Missing Clinical InformationThe System Is Down

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Family Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio (Dr Elder); Department of Family Medicine, The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago, Ill (Dr Hickner).

JAMA. 2005;293(5):617-619. doi:10.1001/jama.293.5.617

In clinical medicine, the key to a successful patient-physician relationship is good communication. The ability to listen, explain, and empathize is as important as the ability to diagnose and treat. Why then, when it comes to communicating among ourselves, do physicians and health care organizations settle for mediocrity? Communication problems exist between specialists and primary care physicians,1 the laboratory and physicians’ offices,2,3 hospitalists and office-based physicians,4 the hospital and physicians’ offices,5 and nursing homes and physicians’ offices.6

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