Skip to Content


M. D. Anderson Expert Brings Importance of Communication to ASCO

M. D. Anderson Expert Brings Importance of Communication to ASCO
Free CD-Rom, Sessions to Highlight the Need for Effective Communication

M. D. Anderson News Release 05/14/01

The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center is bringing the message of effective patient-physician communications to the world's leading organization of cancer care specialists.

At the 37th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), Dr. Walter Baile, chief of psychiatry at M. D. Anderson and a world leader in patient-physician communications, will not only discuss techniques for effective dialogue, but also demonstrate them with an interactive CD-Rom.

Dr. Baile will participate in two of four presentations on patient-physician communications at ASCO, one of which is a session on end-of-life issues to be uplinked via satellite to some 200 hospitals. Also, Dr. Baile and Dr. Renato Lenzi, a gastrointestinal oncologist at M. D. Anderson, will present case studies and techniques in a session designed for oncology fellows, an audience Dr. Baile believes is an important one for this training. Dr. Baile is a co-founder of a new organization known as Advancing Communication in Oncology through Research and Education (ACORE), a group designed to develop curriculum for patient-physician communications in medical schools.

"ASCO should get a great deal of credit for taking important initiatives in patient-physician communications," said Dr. Baile. "Effective communication is a vital part of giving good care. At a conference where scientific research and new therapies are presented, so should the subject of effective communications skills."

Dr. Baile and his frequent collaborator, Dr. Robert Buckman, a medical oncologist at Toronto-Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre, have developed a number of teaching methods, including a CD-Rom to be distributed at no charge to 10,000 ASCO participants. 

Underwritten by an unrestricted educational grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, the three-CD set covers techniques for breaking bad news, disclosing errors, handling difficult situations, talking to families and genetic counseling.  The CD-Rom, which offers up to 20 hours of CME credit, covers face-to-face dialogue as well as telephone conversations. This is the second CD-Rom that Drs. Baile and Buckman have developed.

According to Dr. Baile, oncologists conduct up to 25,000 interviews with patients and family members during the course of a career. Moreover, Dr. Baile and his colleagues have shown that patients today want more information. "These demands require physicians to be great communicators,"  Dr. Baile.  M. D. Anderson has taken the lead in this area and is one of only a few cancer centers in the country that have provided regular communications training for faculty and trainees. Contact:  Laura Sussman (713) 792-0655


© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center