Doctors Have a Hard Job

The primary focus of my role as a medical humanist has been to help patients prepare to open conversations with healthcare providers about their health status and planning of care. I can recall instances when I was working at the cancer center in Bennington when patients would ask their oncologist about uncomfortable topics such as […]

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CCM presents Medical Grand Rounds at Adirondack Health in Saranac Lake, NY

On November 16, the Center for Communication in Medicine’s (CCM) Dr. Bernard Bandman and Dr. Michael Welther presented Grand Rounds on “Improving Healthcare Communication: The SpeakSooner Model in Medical Practice.” to medical staff at Adirondack Health in Saranac Lake, NY. Drs Bandman and Welther described how SpeakSooner: A Patient’s Guide to Difficult Conversations, a tool […]

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SpeakSooner Collaboration with Adirondack Health at Saranac Lake Oncology Team

In 2021, the Center for Communication in Medicine (CCM) began a collaboration with the Oncology Department at Adirondack Health in Saranac Lake, NY to launch a pilot project to improve healthcare communication between patients and cancer clinicians.   In the pilot program, patients are introduced to SpeakSooner: A Patient’s Guide to Difficult Conversations (Guide) to […]

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Artificial Intelligence and Empathy: Are They Compatible?

In my work as a medical humanist, I’ve witnessed how healthcare professionals’ empathic communication skills can improve a patient’s understanding of their diagnosis, prognosis and treatment options. Now, to my surprise, a recent study shows “chatbot-generated responses outperformed physician- generated responses in both quality and empathy.” The authors conclude that chatbots can improve physician performance […]

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Is There a Right Time to Withhold Difficult Medical News?

There is no prescribed timing for when to share difficult medical news. This can be as true for doctors with their patients as it is for patients with loved ones. There can be many reasons for withholding medical information, including doctors avoiding uncomfortable emotionally laden conversations or patients feeling a need to protect loved ones. […]

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