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Video: Communication is Key to Ease Worry about Orthopaedic Surgery
Date:8/4/2008

f surgery, especially in the post-operative period, likely thinking that the surgeon cannot help. But, orthopaedic surgeons may be able to direct patients to social workers and other professional staff who can," Hudak says.

Orthopaedic surgeons and other physicians must be aware that patients will often have unexpressed concerns, and they must take steps to help bring those issues to the surface. To assist with that process, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has developed the Communication Skills Mentoring Program (CSMP). This expanding program, now in its eighth year, uses more than 40 trained Academy fellows, who help facilitate highly rated interactive workshops with video vignettes. Participants learn specific techniques designed to help improve their communication with patients.

"Patients are individuals, not 'the left shoulder in room 2,' but sometimes, orthopaedic surgeons become so technically focused that we forget to develop that necessary personal relationship," says John R Tongue, MD, Chair of the AAOS CSMP Project Team. "About 20 to 30 percent of patients who undergo a knee or hip replacement end up having someone else do the surgery because they didn't feel a personal connection was established in that first meeting with the orthopaedic surgeon."

"Improved communication skills can be learned, and even small changes can make a big difference," Tongue says. "This research strongly supports our program's emphasis on specific techniques that allow us to be more empathetic with our patients. Since the average orthopaedic surgeon sees 160,000 patients during his or her career, AAOS Communication Skills Workshops can have a significant impact on patient care."

Researchers suggest that when soliciting questions from patients, surgeons should be aware of and pay particular attention to:

-- Their body language

-- Orthopaedic surgeons should stop competing activities (like writing

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SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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