Innovation in Medicine 2018: What patients say, what doctors hear

On day one of the RCP Innovation in Medicine 2018 conference, Dr Danielle Ofri, associate professor of medicine at the New York School of Medicine, and author of the book What patients say, what doctors hear, gave a presentation about the importance of communication between the doctor and the patient.

She said ‘the single most powerful tool we have is the doctor–patient conversation’ and that the data we receive from the patients themselves is so important. We need to give this more respect and allow our patients to speak without interruption.

The single most powerful tool we have is the doctor–patient conversation.

Dr Danielle Ofri, associate professor of medicine at the New York School of Medicine

Through compelling human stories, Dr Ofri underlined that communication is a powerful adjunct to medical treatment. This has been demonstrated: in one study, patients receiving pain relief improved far more quickly when the same drug was administered by a doctor rather than by IV with no human involvement. The accompanying conversation helped to reassure and instil confidence in the patient leading to speedier recovery.

Dr Ofri’s message is that despite the wealth of high tech in the world of medicine, this highly flexible and cheap ‘technology’ of better conversations can lead to better health for all.