WORLD OF MEDICINE WILL HAVE COMMUNICATORS AS MEDIATORS!
It has been reported that thanks to “health communication”, a field getting widely popular in USA, the communication between the patient and the doctor, which is hard to establish many times, is getting much easier. The patients can have peace of mind deciding about their treatment methods and processes thanks to health communicators.
Asst. Prof. Dr. Jessica Akey, Visiting Professor at Izmir University of Economics (IUE), Faculty of Communication, came to Turkey as part of the Public Relations and Advertising Dual Diploma Program between State University of New York (SUNY) Fredonia and IUE. Akey stated that “health communication specialists” started to get widely popular in USA in order to rule out any miscommunication between patients of serious diseases such as cancer, and Aids, and their relatives.
Akey indicated that people specialized in medicine lacked communication skills. She said, “Specialists trained in medicine get too much academic information, and they may not always know the best ways to communicate this information to ordinary people, they may sound technical. This is easily solved through health communication. People, especially with severe illnesses, or their family members, need to be informed accurately via health communicators.”
‘Health for Everyone…’
Akey also stated that it wasn’t ethical to keep important information regarding health from patients, however, that differed from culture to culture, and State University of New York, Faculty of Communication provided specialized training in such field. Akey said that health communication was a field that involved all kinds of communication regarding health matters. “It can be described as an interpersonal field that involves the interaction among patient, care taker, nurse, and doctor, or even dietician, physiotherapist. Health communication started to get popular in the last couple of years because health is extremely important for everyone and everyone needs to deal with health issues one way or another,” stated the Professor.
‘Health Communicators Get in Touch with Emotional World’
Akey said that she conducted studies on eating disorders, AIDS patients, and organ donations. Akey stated the following:
“Health communication is a field that covers both health, and human behaviours. While the doctors are more involved with the mechanical part of it, the health communicators focus more on the emotional health, and social lives of patients. Also, the patients can have peace of mind deciding about their treatment methods and processes. They have a say in the process in addition to approving a treatment process. They may demand different types of treatment as there may be alternative treatments for many of the illnesses. They get to choose the best treatment through this communication.”
Recommendations from Communicator
Akey suggests that the doctors, first of all, need to choose a patient centred communication, and that courses on health communication are offered in the first two years of medical education in USA.
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