Strategies to Improve Clinician-Patient Communication Experiences for Patients With Neurologic Conditions

Increasing research supports that effective clinician communication with patients and families leads to improved patient outcomes, higher patient satisfaction, and improved clinician experiences. As a result, patient- and family-centered communication is the focus of a 2020 American Academy of Neurology quality measure and part of neurology residency training milestones. Clinicians across training levels can implement strategies for improving patient- and family-centered communication, including optimizing the communication environment, using verbal and nonverbal skills, focusing on the patient’s agenda, practicing active listening, demonstrating respect and empathy, individualizing encounters to patient and family needs, and providing clear explanations. These skills can be tailored for specialized encounters (e.g., when wearing masks, telemedicine) and for electronic communication. By purposefully identifying and incorporating key communication skills in everyday practice, clinicians have the opportunity to improve patient care and satisfaction and their own experiences in neurology clinical practice.

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