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Doctors, Patients Rarely on Same Page
Date:7/29/2010

at doctors think and what patients think, and that disconnect is more profound when it comes to doctors with Caucasian versus African-American or Hispanic patients," Ansell said. "In our increasingly diverse society, there is a need for better cultural competency skills."

Ultimately, a better understanding between doctors and their patients may mean better outcomes for patients, Ansell said. Even in hurried practices, asking patients a few questions about their thoughts, worries and beliefs can reveal a lot about what patients think.

Unless doctors ask, some patients will be reluctant to speak up for fear of offending or seeming as if they are challenging the doctor, Street added.

"Asking the patient what they are concerned about, what questions they have and what they think is going on with them gives the patient an invitation to share information," Street said.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has tips on making the most of your doctor's appointment through good communication.

SOURCES: Richard Street Jr., Ph.D., professor, communication, Texas A & M University, Houston; David Ansell, M.D., M.P.H., chief medical officer, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago; July 26, 2010, Journal of General Internal Medicine


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