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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Daniel Lam, BA, MD (University of Washington School of Medicine)
Description: This is an excellent book on clinical competence in communication, especially as it pertains to the uncertainty that is often present in the area of oncology.
Purpose: The purpose is to promote better clinician-patient communication via an evidence-based approach in an effort to optimize the quality of oncologic care. These are worthy objectives, not only in oncology, but also in medicine in general.
Audience: The book is written for students, residents, and practitioners, including those in allied health professions. While the book specifically targets those in oncology and palliative medicine, many of the principles may be applied to other subspecialties where uncertainty, and especially life-limiting disease, is encountered. The authors acknowledge this by adding that hospitalists, among others, are part of their target audience. They have done an excellent job of making the book accessible to this broad audience. Many of the authors are authorities on communication, especially as it relates to oncology and palliative care.
Features: This book does an excellent job of comprehensively addressing core competencies in clinician-patient communication. Of note, the book provides an easy-to-follow curriculum for oncology and palliative care, and specifically addresses common scenarios in this setting. In keeping with the recognition that teamwork is paramount in providing excellent patient care, it is notable that the authors have addressed the allied health professions and have devoted a substantial portion of the book to communication across different disciplines. Finally, the book highlights recent research from around the world to give a picture of how communication training is evolving.
Assessment: This is an excellent reference for all palliative care practitioners as well as for those involved in oncology. It will be helpful whether one is practicing, teaching future practitioners, or developing a curriculum for effective clinician communication.