Touro Infirmary

FALL 2013

Spirit of Women magazine is a national publication presented to women by hospitals and their physicians. The magazine provides up-to-date, evidence-based healthcare information and promotes our hospitals as leaders in women's health excellence.

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P R E V E N T I V E M E D I C I N E Telling your health story: New narrative approaches to medicine By Margaret Littman hen your physician asks what's new these days, he or she may be looking for a lot more than a list of aches and pains. Many medical schools and hospitals are now relying on the Calgary-Cambridge method, a system of communication designed for a well-rounded look at your health and concerns. "The philosophy is that we let the patient tell the story," explains Dr. Marygrace Elson, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology and vice chair of education at the University of Iowa's Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City, Iowa. "[In the past] we were trained to ask about a chief complaint and then focus on that one concern. But the SHUTTERSTOCK W Cambridge method allows the patient to bring up more than one concern." LISTENING AND LEARNING Calgary-Cambridge method-inspired programs for physicians cover everything from asking open-ended questions to learning to break bad news with grace, according to Dr. Elson, who is also affiliated with University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa. Physicians learn to work within tight time frames but also give patients a meaningful interaction and allow them to feel like they are being heard. Of course, listening doesn't mean letting a patient ramble indefinitely. When a patient's focus starts to wander, trained physicians can help summarize main points and get the discussion back on track. That way, appointment time can best be used to address key concerns and develop an appropriate treatment plan. (continued on page 16) "The Cambridge method allows the patient to bring up more than one concern [at an appointment]." ~ Dr. Marygrace Elson, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics w w w. s p i r i t o f w o m e n . c o m FA L L 2 013 SPI RIT O F WOM EN 15

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