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Time Out Before Talking: Communication as a Medical Procedure

This article explains how taking a medical history, delivering bad news, and discussing care goals might be improved by considering how clinicians prepare for invasive technical interventions.

Use this article to:

  • Role-play (with a fellow student) a physician delivering bad news about a cancer diagnosis to a patient.
  • Critique the communication demonstrated during the role-play. What worked well, and what could have improved the interaction?
  • Ask yourself what you think about the argument put forth in this commentary—will thinking of communication as a procedure improve your interactions with patients?

Annals of Internal Medicine is the premier internal medicine academic journal published by the American College of Physicians (ACP). It is one of the most widely cited and influential specialty medical journals in the world.

Back to the March 2021 issue of ACP IMpact