Growing enthusiasm about patient-centered medical homes, fueled by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s emphasis on improved primary care, has intensified interest in how to deliver patient-centered care. Essential to the delivery of such care are patient-centered communication skills. These skills have a positive impact on patient satisfaction, treatment adherence, and self-management.
They can be effectively taught at all levels of medical education and to practicing physicians. Yet most physicians receive limited training in communication skills. Policy makers and stakeholders can leverage training grants, payment incentives, certification requirements, and other mechanisms to develop and reward effective patient-centered communication.