In clinical medicine, the key to a successful patient-physician relationship
is good communication. The ability to listen, explain, and empathize is as
important as the ability to diagnose and treat. Why then, when it comes to
communicating among ourselves, do physicians and health care organizations
settle for mediocrity? Communication problems exist between specialists and
primary care physicians,1 the laboratory and
physicians’ offices,2,3 hospitalists
and office-based physicians,4 the hospital
and physicians’ offices,5 and nursing
homes and physicians’ offices.6
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