Talking to Your Doctor: A Patient's Guide to Communication in the Exam Room and Beyond

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Product Details
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Publish Date
6.27 X 9.1 X 0.84 inches | 1.02 pounds

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About the Author
Zackary Berger, MD, is a primary care doctor and internist as well as an epidemiologist. He is an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he maintains an active practice in adult medicine and teaches with residents and medical students. His research on doctor-patient communication, bioethics, and clinical epidemiology has been published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and the Journal of General Internal Medicine, as well as in numerous venues for the general public.

What is the most commonly performed procedure done by a doctor? The answer is surprisingly simple: interviewing patients. The medical interview has four major purposes: building rapport, collecting information, educating, and proposing possible treatments. Berger, an internal-medicine specialist at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, dissects the dynamics and studies the flow of doctor-patient encounters. He offers suggestions for effectively communicating with your doctor (even when you are nervous, embarrassed, and intimidated). Some of the most frequent emotions surfacing during a doctor's visit are fear, anger, sadness, and frustration. Yet good physicians can help patients plot a course through difficult times by expressing empathy and exercising "emotional nimbleness." Berger writes, "Healing depends on sensitive emotional navigation as much as objective truth." Every visit to the doctor's office is an opportunity for a new beginning and an important dialogue about remaining healthy or feeling better. Patients should feel comfortable about expressing their concerns, and physicians need to listen carefully. Berger's book lays a strong foundation.
Dr. Berger provides practical, effective advice for how to better communicate with your doctor. By following this book's advice, patients can more effectively communicate, better understand what they should do, and ultimately be more likely to get and stay well.
I have read a great many books written by patients that focus on how to survive a hospital stay or contain guidance to help the reader get the most out of their doctor's appointment. I have also read a great deal of such books written by doctors. These tomes are often written in an earnest manner but can be hard for the layman to follow. I was so excited when I heard Zackary Berger would be writing this book, Talking to Your Doctor. I was familiar with his lyrical writing style from articles and blogs. I am pleased to see his talent on full display in this long form narrative. "Talking to Your Doctor" is humorous and insightful. I got a real kick out of his decision to focus on embarrassing questions in Chapter 11. Not many authors have the subtle wit to make such comparisons. Please read this lovely conversation that is wrapped within the pages of a book. You will not regret it.

There are many reasons that poorer people are sicker people, but one that's often overlooked is miscommunication between doctors and their poorest, most marginalized patients. While it's usually the case that doctors are from Mars and patients from Venus, this is especially the case when there are gaps in language, culture, education and class. In Talking to Your Doctor, Zackary Berger shows us how to turn those all-too-brief and awkward exchanges into a foundation for getting better.

In Talking to Your Doctor, Zackary Berger provides an invaluable lesson to patients--regardless of being in a chronic disease state or suffering a single bout of illness, patients must take responsibility for clearly communicating their symptoms and desired outcomes of care to their doctors. Clinical findings cannot do what the patient voice can do in defining what sickness means to the individual patient. With Berger's guidance, patients can empower themselves to better explain their concerns and work with their doctors to achieve meaningful solutions. Berger also encourages his fellow physicians to engage in redefining the doctor-patient relationship to be one of mutual respect and open dialogue so that both doctor and patient find greater satisfaction in their clinical interactions.

Dr. Berger rigorously reviews the ins and outs of doctor-patient communication to find what you need to do to get the best healthcare: better conversations with your doctor.