'Can I be honest?'

3rd January 2019

Improving communication skills to build and maintain trust between medical professionals and patients is both commendable and desirable, when it comes to shared decision making says Cardiomyopathy UK Trustee Stephen Kirkham

Considerable emphasis is being given to shared decision making within the NHS and building and maintaining trust between medical professionals and patients by improving communication skills feature highly.

This is both commendable and desirable. However, effective communication is a two-way process for both medical staff and patients, requiring everyone to be effective in “transmitting” as well as “receiving”.

So if medical professionals are to be better at listening and discerning what is really going on, how can they learn to “receive” more effectively? 

Communication experts say effective verbal communication is made up of the following components:

  • 58% body language
  • 35% voice (tone, volume, and pitch)
  • 7% words used

Developing better skills in reading “body language”, listening effectively and actually interpreting the words in light of the other evidence, are all necessary and should be in play during any doctor’s contact-time with patients.

But equally, patients have to communicate effectively, which assumes the patient has the capacity, ability, or even the desire to be able to provide a rounded and complete description of their situation and symptoms, their hopes and fears.

Read the full article here