A Message from Atul Gawande: Improving Communication Skills Means Improving Care

By Atul Gawande
(Adapted from video recorded March 28, 2018)

Hi. I’m Atul Gawande, a surgeon and public health researcher, and I want to thank you for visiting the Communications Skills Pathfinder Portal. You’re here because you have recognized, as I did, the importance of learning how to better communicate with your patients facing serious illness.

Three leading health care organizations came together to establish the Communication Skills Pathfinder: Vital Talk; my team at Ariadne Labs; and the Center to Advance Palliative Care. Through this one-door portal, you will benefit from the most effective, evidence-based models of patient-centered communication skills training:

  • Vital Talk’s intensive training geared to clinicians and faculty development
  • CAPC’s CME curriculum with online courses and designation status
  • And Ariadne Labs Serious Illness Conversation Guide which helps clinicians have meaningful conversations about what matters most to patients

As we all know, fewer than a third of physicians receive any formal training in communication about goals of care. Nearly half report that they are unsure about what to say. When we don’t have meaningful conversations with our patients about their values and goals, our patients suffer.

But I know from personal experience that when you close that gap with the training and tools, you can transform care for your most seriously patients.

Patients who talk to their doctors about their values and preferences are less likely to receive unwanted treatments, less likely to be hospitalized and more likely to see reductions in depression and anxiety.

The Pathfinder portal offers easy access to the skills training and resources clinicians need to conduct meaningful patient conversations.

The close collaboration of these three organizations — and the Communication Skills Pathfinder portal — take us ever-closer to the day when every seriously ill patient will have effective, high-quality communication with all the clinicians who have pivotal roles in their care.

Thank you for being here.

Watch the video: