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Instr Course Lect. 2017 Feb 15;66:659-665.

Surgeon-Patient Communication: The Key to Patient Satisfaction, Patient-Centered Care, and Shared Decision Making.

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Head, Section on Safety Education, Patient Safety Committee, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Rosemont, Illinois.


The surgeon-patient relationship is rapidly evolving from surgeon-centric to patient-centric. External forces, such as the Affordable Care Act and the unsustainable growth of healthcare costs in the United States, have disrupted the old model of medical care. Effective communication between surgeons and patients as well as patient satisfaction, treatment adherence, and shared decision making are essential components of the patient-centered care paradigm. Effective communication carries high stakes for surgeons, including increased surgeon satisfaction and a reduced risk of surgeon burnout and malpractice litigation. Communication skills are one of the six Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education core competencies, and an assessment of communication skills is now included in a surgeon's summative evaluations for employment, compensation, licensing, and maintenance of certification.

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