Vital Conversations

Improving Communication Between Doctors and Patients

Dennis Rosen, MD

Columbia University Press

Vital Conversations

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Pub Date: September 2014

ISBN: 9780231164443

264 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $27.95£19.95

Pub Date: September 2014

ISBN: 9780231538046

264 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $26.99£20.00

Vital Conversations

Improving Communication Between Doctors and Patients

Dennis Rosen, MD

Columbia University Press

The health-care system in the United States is by far the most expensive in the world, yet its outcomes are decidedly mediocre in comparison with those of other countries. Poor communication between doctors and patients, Dennis Rosen argues, is at the heart of this disparity, a pervasive problem that damages the well-being of the patient and the integrity of the health-care system and society.

Drawing upon research in biomedicine, sociology, and anthropology and integrating personal stories from his medical practice in three different countries (and as a patient), Rosen shows how important good communication between physicians and patients is to high-quality—and less-expensive—care. Without it, treatment adherence and preventive services decline, and the rates of medical complications, hospital readmissions, and unnecessary testing and procedures rise. Rosen illustrates the consequences of these problems from both the caregiver and patient perspectives and explores the socioeconomic and cultural factors that cause important information to be literally lost in translation. He concludes with a prescriptive chapter aimed at building the cultural competencies and communication skills necessary for higher-quality, less-expensive care, making it more satisfying for all involved.

I applaud Dennis Rosen, MD, for bringing attention to an important aspect of medicine in our modern world. Thorough and robust, his stories are engaging, true gems of health literacy and the appreciation of cultural influences. These and other aspects make Vital Conversations an excellent source of ideas on how to enhance treatment.

Joseph Shrand, MD, Harvard Medical School, author of Outsmarting Anger: 7 Strategies for Defusing our Most Dangerous Emotion

At a time when there has been marked degradation of physician-patient communication, Dennis Rosen, MD, takes us back to the basics: the need for ways to foster an exquisite and intimate connection. He clearly understands what doctors should do to raise the bar, and it is fully captured in Vital Conversations.

Eric J. Topol, MD, Scripps Research Institute, author of The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care

Timely.... Full of personal anecdotes, selected research in biomedicine, sociology and anthropology and lots of footnotes (but reader friendly), Rosen's book should be read by physicians and students of medicine and nursing, as well as laymen interested in our medical system.

Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, The Jerusalem Post

Provides moving examples of actual patient scenarios.... [that] establish Rosen as a caring and empathetic physician with a wealth of experience to share.

Amy Forman, Massachusetts Jewish Journal

Vital Conversations is a thoughtful and accessible read for providers and patients alike.

Liza Pine, Humanizing Medicine

[An] excellent book.

The Lancet

This engaging read.... provides patients tools they can use to improve dialogue with their doctors and, ultimately, improve their ultimate medical outcomes.

Renee Ghert-Zand, The Times of Israel

[Dr. Rosen] delivers much of his advice through anecdotes that take readers on a journey through a career filled with both positive and negative instances of doctor-patient communication.

Jonathan Bor, Health Affairs
Acknowledgments
Author's Note
1. Better Outcomes, Lower Costs
2. One Size Does Not Fit All
3. When Worlds Collide
4. Disease, Illness, and Sickness
5. Body and Soul
6. Reconciling Different Worldviews
7. Making It Stick
8. Putting It All Together: Creating a Better Clinical Encounter
Notes
Index

Read an excerpt from the first chapter "Better Outcomes, Lower Costs":

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About the Author

Dennis Rosen, MD, is a pediatric pulmonologist and sleep specialist at Boston Children's Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. He writes regularly for the medical press as well as for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and Pacific Standard. He is also the author of Successful Sleep Strategies for Kids (a Harvard Medical School Guide).