New Emphasis on Doctor-Patient Relations

Medical Schools Focus on Teaching Better Bedside Manners

Listen: Listen to a Tufts University medical school lecture on doctor-patient communication.

A physician with patient

About a dozen U.S. medical schools are pushing communication skills to the forefront of medical training. It's estimated about 75 percent of all med schools will gradually make the same move. Thomas Brummett/Corbis hide caption

itoggle caption Thomas Brummett/Corbis

Starting next fall, all graduating medical students in the United States will have to pass a new exam in order to become licensed to practice medicine. More than a decade in the making, the new test measures clinical skills. But as Madge Kaplan of member station WGBH in Boston reports, it also attempts to gauge how well doctors communicate with patients.

Many first-year medical students are now required to take courses on what is commonly called bedside manner. Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston is one of a dozen schools pushing the new training. It's estimated that 75 percent of all U.S. med schools will gradually follow the lead.

Tufts professor Dr. Jody Schindelheim teaches a course called Interviewing and the Doctor/Patient Relationship. Hear an excerpt from his lecture on interviewing a hospital patient for the first time.

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