Can refocusing conversations between doctors and their patients lead to better health?
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 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 Dr. Ofri’s writing is renowned 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, Dr. Ofri reveals how better communication can lead to better health for all of us.
“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.”
—Deborah Tannen, professor of linguistics at Georgetown University and author of You Just Don’t Understand and You’re Wearing THAT?
“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.”Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree
Praise for Danielle Ofri
“Taut, vivid prose...She writes for a lay audience with a practiced hand.”
—Katie Hafner, New York Times
“A gifted storyteller.”
—Sarah Halzack, Washington Post
“The world of patient and doctor exists in a special sacred space. Danielle Ofri brings us into that place where science and the soul meet. Her vivid and moving prose enriches the mind and turns the heart.”
—Jerome Groopman, author of How Doctors Think
“I highly recommend [Danielle Ofri’s work] for physicians, would-be doctors, and anyone interested in medicine in all its behind-the-scenes glory.”
—Sandeep Jauhar, author of Intern: A Doctor’s Initiation
“Danielle Ofri’s sensitivity to every aspect of her patients’ lives is immensely impressive and moving. If only more doctors could be (and write) like this!”
—Oliver Sacks, author of Awakenings
“[Ofri’s writing] about the emotional life of doctors and their patients, captivated me so much...Read[s] like a deftly crafted and luminously written novel.”
—Caroline Leavitt, Boston Globe
Communication and Its Discontents
From Both Sides Now
It Takes Two
Now Hear This
With All Good Intentions
Chief Listening Officer
Listen to Me
Just the Facts, Ma’am
Do No Harm
What Lies Beneath
The Language of Medicine
Rushing to Judgment
Can It Be Taught?
A Fragile Truce Shatters
Can We Talk?
- The Washington Post, review, 2/2/2017
- The Globe and Mail, Q&A and excerpt, 2/2/2017
- The Moth Radio/Public Radio Exchange (PRX), interview, 1/31/2017
- The New York Times, op-ed, 1/19/2017
- Slate.com, op-ed, 1/19/2017
- Journal Watch (NEJM podcast), interview, 1/13/2017
- Slate.com, quoted, January 2017