Walter F. Baile, M.D.
Professor, Behavioral Science
The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Dr. Walter Baile:
This Web site is to help you improve your communication in the clinical care of our patients which is a tough and demanding job, at best, and often done under the constraints of time as well. What you'll find here are techniques, a sort of toolbox in fact, which address core competencies in communication skills such as breaking bad news, talking about disease recurrence and managing difficult communications and interactions with both patients and their families. We'll explain some useful communication strategies and techniques and then we'll show you how they're used in realistic scenarios that we video taped with standardized patient actors.
In the first installment called "Basic Principles," you'll find useful approaches for basic clinical interactions. Beyond that, you'll also see protocols and tips for the more difficult work of giving bad news, one of the most frequent and challenging tasks for oncology clinicians. These modules were developed by myself and my colleague, Dr. Robert Buckman, who is a medical oncologist and noted expert in patient communication.
In the next installment "Managing Difficult Communications," we deal with issues such as error disclosure, disease progression, and end of life discussions. We'll also have subsequent installments that focus on the cancer patient's perspective, a section devoted to communicating with colleagues, and one for those who are interested in teaching communication skills. We hope that you'll find our reference and resources section useful and we'll keep you updated about related conferences and other educational activities.
We're making this material freely available with the goal of enhancing therapeutic relationships between cancer patients and their healthcare providers. Much of the content here is also accredited for formal continuing education for those who desire it. I encourage you to contact our I*CARE office at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center with any questions or concerns and to give us some feedback about content you'd like to see on the site.
In the meantime, I hope that everyone who cares for cancer patients will find something here that is helpful to them in their practice.
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