A Healthier Wisconsin

Transforming Healthcare through Relationship-Centered Communication Skills Training

Transforming Healthcare through Relationship-Centered Communication Skills Training

Full Project Name:Transforming Healthcare through Relationship-Centered Communication Skills TrainingPrincipal Investigator:MaryAnn Gilligan, MD, MPH, MedicineCo-Investigator:Adina Kalet, MD, MPH, Kern InstituteAward Amount:$50,000
Award Date
Project Duration:12 months

Project Description Narrative:

Effective communication skills are an essential component of good patient care. However, until recently, many medical schools and residency programs did not include formal communication skills training. As a result, many practicing clinicians have never undergone such training. Even where programs exist, most do not have a system to reinforce the skills that can deteriorate with time.

Effective communication in healthcare settings has been associated with improved patient outcomes in chronic illness, including improved pain control, improved blood pressure control, increased weight loss, appropriate use of antibiotics, and decreased glycosylated hemoglobin levels, among many other common outcomes. Clinicians who practice patient-centered communication experience increased engagement and satisfaction and less burnout.

This project aims to put into place a program that will enhance the communication skills of practicing clinicians (physicians, advanced practice providers) at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). Such a program has the potential to impact the health of patients in Wisconsin for years to come through the critical role MCW clinicians play in training future generations of physicians, many of whom go on to practice in the state.

Based on recent data, approximately 30% of medical students stayed in Wisconsin for residency training, and 56% of house staff (residents and fellows) stayed in Wisconsin to practice or for further training.

Key distinguishing characteristics of the training proposed include defining skills specific to the clinician-patient and a train-the-trainer model that adds credibility and efficiency to the program.

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