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Better Communication Can Decrease Health Care Conflict

The relationship between a doctor and a patient is a very important one, but also one that has the potential for conflict. Dr. Heather Carmack is an assistant professor of communication at Missouri State University who studies health care conflict.

There can be many causes of doctor-patient conflict, according to Carmack. Some of the causes from the patient’s side of the relationship include inflated expectations and impatience. Another problem, with potentially more serious implications, is a patient’s unwillingness to share some health information.

In some cases, distrust from the provider can be a source of conflict, according to Carmack. Cultural misunderstandings can also be a cause of conflict.

Carmack offers several suggestions to improve the doctor-patient relationship.