Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Michael A. Crouch, MD, MSPH (Baylor College of Medicine)
Description: This book is a marvelous case-based discourse on building strong doctor-patient relationships and communicating effectively. It is a sequel to the author's previous book, Conversation Failure.
Purpose: The purpose is to encourage the reader to recognize communication difficulties and disasters, sort them out, and try to fix them. Studies of doctor-patient interaction and patient satisfaction show physicians have a strong perpetual need for useful guidance in this area. The book accomplishes its purpose admirably well.
Audience: The primary audience is the practicing physician, and the secondary audience is the resident physician. The book is especially well suited for primary care physicians. It contains numerous conversational pearls that medical students would be well advised to incorporate into their basic interviewing repertoire. The author is a highly credible communications expert.
Features: As befits a book about talking, it is entirely textual, with no superfluous tables and graphs. The only illustration is the cover sketch portraying a stereotypical male physician and female patient. The references are carefully selected and could serve as a valuable resource for medical educators.
Assessment: This book is a gem for the student, resident, or primary care practitioner. Its real case vignettes capture the essence of human communication dilemmas. The biopsychosocial model comes to life as practical strategies are proposed for routinely probing such awkward topics as family violence and sexual abuse. The commentaries inspire the reader to stay in touch with the core values of medicine, and to try to walk the walk and talk the talk, even when the going gets tough.