May 4, 2011

Patient-Physican CommunicationIt's About Time

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Dr Levinson); and Departments of Pediatrics and Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California (Dr Pizzo).

JAMA. 2011;305(17):1802-1803. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.556

The last few decades have witnessed incredible progress in the scientific underpinnings of medicine. New discoveries and innovations have created sophisticated tools and technologies that have changed the way diseases are diagnosed and managed. Ironically, some of these technologies have taken precedence over one of the most important skills of the compassionate physician—the art of listening to the patient. Patients often experience physicians as being too busy to listen and too distant to care. Consumer Web sites abound with criticisms about physicians' deficiencies in communication skills. This appears equally true in Canada and in the United States, despite the major differences in their health care systems.

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