Medicine Grand Rounds at UPMC Shadyside

THE FIFTEENTH COOPER LECTURESHIP: "What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear (and Vice Versa): The Highest Stakes in Medicine"

November 16, 2017
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD, D.Litt (Hon), FACP
Associate Professor of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine; Editor-in-Chief, Bellevue Literary Review; Author of “What Patients Say; What Doctors Hear”
Herberman Conference Center, 2nd Floor, UPMC Cancer Pavilion, UPMC Shadyside
UPMC Shadyside, Department of Medicine and Shadyside Hospital Foundation, Cooper Endowment in Medicine
Justine Rubino
Director, Operations, CCEHS


The Cooper Endowment for the Department of Medicine was established by the Shadyside Hospital Foundation to honor Dr. Cooper’s lifetime achievements and to perpetuate the standards of patient care and physician education that he so tirelessly advocated, embodied, and helped to achieve.

This presentation is intended for anyone interested in examining the doctor-patient conversation to achieve better health outcomes.

Despite modern medicine's infatuation with high-tech gadgetry, the single most powerful diagnostic tool in the medical armamentarium is the doctor-patient conversation. This deceptively simple tool can achieve the lion's share of medical diagnosis. However, what patients say and what doctors hear are often two vastly different things. Patients, anxious to convey their symptoms, feel an urgency to "make their case" to their doctors. Doctors, under pressure to be efficient, multitask while patients speak and often miss the key elements. Add in stereotypes, unconscious bias, conflicting agendas, and fear of lawsuits and the risk of misdiagnosis and medical errors multiplies. This presentation examines whether refocusing the doctor-patient conversation can lead to better health outcomes.

At the end of this lecture, participants should be better able to:
• Understand the elements of good communication.
• Discuss how both physician and patients contribute to breakdowns in communication.
• Explore ways that better communication might improve health outcomes.