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  • What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear

  • By: Danielle Ofri
  • Narrated by: Ann Richardson
  • Length: 9 hrs and 8 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear

By: Danielle Ofri
Narrated by: Ann Richardson
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Summary

How refocusing conversations between doctors and their patients can lead to better health

Despite modern medicine's infatuation with high-tech gadgetry, the single most powerful diagnostic tool is the doctor-patient conversation, which can uncover the lion's share of illnesses. However, what patients say and what doctors hear are often two vastly different things.

Patients, anxious to convey their symptoms, feel an urgency to "make their case" to their doctors. Doctors, under pressure to be efficient, multitask while patients speak and often miss the key elements. Add in stereotypes, unconscious bias, conflicting agendas, and the fear of lawsuits and the risk of misdiagnosis and medical errors multiplies dangerously.

Though the gulf between what patients say and what doctors hear is often wide, Dr. Danielle Ofri proves that it doesn't have to be. Through the powerfully resonant human stories that Ofri is celebrated for, she explores the high-stakes world of doctor-patient communication that we all must navigate. Reporting on the latest research studies and interviewing scholars, doctors, and patients, Ofri reveals how better communication can lead to better health for all of us.

©2017 Danielle Ofri (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"With the meticulous care of Oliver Sacks and the deep humanism of Atul Gawande, Danielle Ofri has written a book about the role of communication in medicine. She presents compelling evidence that even as doctoring appears to be dominated by technology, the human, affective relationship is at the very center of responsible practice." (Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree)
"With disarming candor and penetrating insight, Dr. Ofri illuminates the enormous power of what might seem at first a mundane and insignificant element in the practice of medicine: communication." (Deborah Tannen, author of You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation)

What listeners say about What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear

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  • Dennis Adler
  • 15-09-17

Newbie review follows. Be ware

Long & prose-like. Author wrote it to teach herself the subject. Wish all doctors would read it. Current health care system makes the door / patient communication difficult. I have no reference for this book, so I gave it 3 stars. Good narration.

2 people found this helpful

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  • MemorizingPharmacology
  • 12-02-17

Important Book for Patient Engagement

What did you love best about What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear?

I found it because we share the same narrator for my book How to Pronounce Drug Names: A Visual Approach to Preventing Medication Errors. The author clearly articulates the problem that communication between patients and their doctors often falls short of ideal. Rather than a dry technical volume, she uses narrative to make her points clear.

Who was your favorite character and why?

While favorite character falls more on works of fiction, this experience between the author and the Tylenol #5 patient was a memorable one.

Which character – as performed by Ann M. Richardson – was your favorite?

Again, there's no real character performances, as much as she had a lucid and engaging reading of a nine hour book. It's an easy listen with the warmth and concern one would hope for in their physician.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The moment I realized the doctor's efforts to help the diabetic patient actually pushed her away was both disheartening and illuminating.

Any additional comments?

It's worth a listen, but if you're a busy health professional trying to squeeze this book in, I wouldn't start with chapter 1, start with Chapter 16, then Chapter 4, then Chapter 1 and move forward. It will feel more like an academic article's formatting in that way of abstract, introduction, methods, results, etc.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Duncan Honeycutt
  • 22-10-22

Good content, dodgy writing

The patient stories from Dr. Ofri's practice were valuable and relevant, and the inclusion of research relevant to communication techniques was interesting and left me wanting to apply it.

Overall, though, I had a very hard time finishing this book. For a book written intentionally on the topic of good communication, I felt it was very over-written. There were far too many overgeneralizations, cliché analogies, and pretentious adjectives for my taste. At times, I was literally cringing because of the excessive wordiness and try-hard vocabulary. These issues were so pervasive that I feel like this must also be seen as a failure on the editors part.

If you want to argue that doctors confuse patients with obscure jargon, why would you write a book with so many excessively fancy words?

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  • Keo
  • 30-04-22

Required reading for all Drs

This was an excellent book. So insightful ,relatable. shines the spotlight on good communication as a skill we should enjoy to enhance Dr-patient relationships
Have found it very helpful and will certainly use some of her tips to improve my own relationships with my patients! All Drs should read this book

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-04-22

So relevant -perfect for medical students

I chew through a fair few audiobooks and it’s rare that I take the time to write a review, let alone give 5 stars in all categories, but this book deserves it.
Every chapter was so relevant to what we’re learning in medical school today and I would recommend it to anyone student or qualified in the healthcare profession because it highlights the importance of communication which is essential to all. It’s also a great read from a patient perspective about how to get the most out of your medical encounters and help you be on the same page with your treating team. I look forward to reading (or rather listening to) Ofri’s other books.

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  • Yarngirl52
  • 03-06-21

Communication is Medicine at the Core

I appreciate the time, research, and the willingness to improve her own communication so much. I must review the book to see what I must do to improve mine.

Dr. Ofri hit a sore spot in the chapter on bias. I don't doubt that I have implicit bias when meeting people different from me. However, I thought she used "equality" and "inequity" synonymously. They are not synonyms. Equality is how we treat others: ideally the same.

Equity, however, is about outcomes. Outcomes cannot be guaranteed because we don't live in a perfect world. People who smoke often can't have the same health outcome as those who don't.

In the long run, mixing up these words can have far reaching consequences. But in the context of this book, it is just a blip.

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  • kiwinichole
  • 27-06-18

great book that gets you thinking

this book helped me to think about pt doctor relationships and the smallest details making a difference. she is a great writer and keeps you engaged and learning. I finished this book in no time

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  • Stephen
  • 24-10-17

Easy listening

Enjoyed this one, even if cases sounded likely mainly dealing with dear medicine, the more expensive end, the wealthier clientele, the same principles would relate to any medical encounter more or less I guess.

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  • RazzyJazz
  • 14-03-17

Enjoyable and informative for both doctors and patients

I liked hearing what it's like from a doctor's point of view, and sometimes surprised at what a doctor may not know about good communication skills. There were also some good pointers for patients. The narrator is excellent. I could listen to her all day.