Despite modern medicine’s infatuation with high-tech gadgetry, the single most powerful diagnostic tool is the doctor-patient conversation, which can uncover the lion’s share of illnesses. However, what patients say and what doctors hear are often two vastly different things.
Patients, anxious to convey their symptoms, feel an urgency to “make their case” to their doctors. Doctors, under pressure to be efficient, multitask while patients speak and often miss the key elements. Add in stereotypes, unconscious bias, conflicting agendas, and the fear of lawsuits and the risk of misdiagnosis and medical errors multiplies dangerously.
Though the gulf between what patients say and what doctors hear is often wide, Dr. Danielle Ofri proves that it doesn’t have to be. Through the powerfully resonant human stories that Ofri is celebrated for, she explores the high-stakes world of doctor-patient communication that we all must navigate. Reporting on the latest research studies and interviewing scholars, doctors, and patients, Ofri reveals how refocusing conversations between doctors and their patients can lead to better health.
“With the meticulous care of Oliver Sacks and the deep humanism of Atul Gawande, Danielle Ofri has written a book about the role of communication in medicine. She presents compelling evidence that even as doctoring appears to be dominated by technology, the human, affective relationship is at the very center of responsible practice.”
“With disarming candor and penetrating insight, Dr. Ofri illuminates the enormous power of what might seem at first a mundane and insignificant element in the practice of medicine: communication.”
“Ofri’s most potent revelation resides in its simplicity: the patient is not the same as the illness….As Ofri argues in her insightful book, this remains the most important aspect of medicine.”
“You will find much to appreciate in Danielle Ofri’s perceptive book “What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear.” …Ofri seeks to humanize a profession often seen as haughty, privileged, uncommunicative and indifferent to criticism.”
“Ofri…argues that the conversations doctors have with their patients are the most important part of a medical visit, far surpassing blood tests, X-rays or various scans. And she believes it’s time both doctors and patients give these conversations their due.”
“This is the book you want to read in the waiting room at your next doctor’s appointment… With “What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear,” it’s your listening skills you’ll be examining.”