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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

What doctors (and patients) can learn from air traffic controllers: What’s that you say?

What doctors (and patients) can learn from air traffic controllers: What’s that you say?

From a March 7 2011 Science Daily news item

ScienceDaily (Mar. 7, 2011) — A review of 35 years of scientific medical studies confirms that the social and emotional context of the doctor-patient relationship have yet to be incorporated into the equation when it comes to health care….

“We are only at the water’s edge in terms of availability of patient-centered care studies because they aren’t being done. We need to encourage researchers to implement clinical trials that evaluate care that focuses on communication between physician and patient. Ultimately, we need processes that have been tested and proven,” said Richard M. Frankel, Ph.D., Regenstrief Institute investigator, professor of medicine at the IU School of Medicine, and a senior scientist in the Veterans Affairs Center of Excellence for Implementing Evidence-Based Practice at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center. He is the senior author of the JGIM paper.

Dr. Frankel uses an analogy from aviation where safety is given the highest priority. “When the air traffic controller gives an instruction to the pilot, the pilot’s response must be phrased to indicate understanding of the air traffic controller’s message. We don’t have that in medicine. The doctor speaks to the patient and generally does not solicit a response that clearly indicates the patient understood what the doctor wished to convey.”…

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