Features  |   May 2013
Communication in Health Care
Author Affiliations
  • Myriam P. Garzon, M.D.
    Committee on Patient Safety and Education
Article Information
Ethics / Medicolegal Issues / Patient Safety / Pediatric Anesthesia / Pharmacology / Practice Management / Technology / Equipment / Monitoring / Advocacy and Legislative Issues / Quality Improvement / Features
Features   |   May 2013
Communication in Health Care
ASA Monitor 05 2013, Vol.77, 24-26.
ASA Monitor 05 2013, Vol.77, 24-26.
We often speak of the health care “team.” Where would we be without the most important part of the team – the patient?
As anesthesiologists, we are in a unique position to help our patients be part of the equation and be collaborators in their health care instead of passive participants. To be true patient advocates, we need to be able to communicate effectively with our patients. Much of communication is listening; if you listen to your patients, they will tell you what’s wrong and be empowered in their health care choices. Who hasn’t heard the new catch phrase, “patient-centered care?” Achieving patient-centered care requires that we educate our patients so they can articulate their thoughts, concerns and fears.3  Communication is an essential pathway to patient-centered medicine and building the collaborative relationships that we need to incorporate our patients into the “treating team.” If you’ve ever played the childhood game of “telephone,” you can understand what happens when communication is not direct, clear and concise, so taking the time to talk to our patients before and after anesthesia care is critical. Dimensions of patient-centric care according to the Picker Institute3  are:
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