Good medicine is about good communication, researcher says

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Illustration: Division of Research

Richard Street, professor of communication and research professor of medicine, has been investigating the relationship between clinician-patient communication and health outcomes for more than 20 years.

“When one thinks of effective medical treatment and cures for diseases, images of the science of medicine comes to mind—new drugs, advances in radiologic imaging, and sophisticated medical technologies,” says Street. “However, good medicine is as much about good communication as it is about good biological science or engineering.”

His  research focuses on two related themes: increasing a patient’s ability to actively participate in medical decision-making and modeling pathways through which the doctor-patient conversation in a medical encounter ultimately leads to an improved health outcome.