Part 2 – TEDMED Great Challenges: Improving Medical Communication-Sound Bites for Twitter

By Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA

Part two of a three part series on Healthin30

TEDMED Great Challenges: Improving Medical Communication

What are your ideas to improve medical communication in health care?

Clinician and Patient with Family Member iStock_000006453996XSmall


The TEDMED Great Challenges Team in Medical Communication recently gathered together on Google Plus Live Hangout to talk about how to improve medical communication in the health care today.

In part one, I shared my thoughts on the topic of medical communication.  I spoke about the importance of empathy, being an empowered patient, and the significance of verbal communication for physicians, clinicians and nurses.

The TEDEMD Great Challenges: Improving Medical Communication, moderated by Emily Paulsen.  The medical communication team consists of Joseph Kvedar, MD, Robert Arnold, MD, Selma Caal, MD, John Cox, and Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA.

The YouTube video is here, and below please find insights from John Cox and Selma Caal, MD, which are in tweetable form.

TEDMED  Selma Caal, MD Healthin30Selma Caal, MD @childtrends


  • Patients ask, “What have I done to create this?” Because of culture patients may feel… By Dr. Caal @childtrends Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • …they will be judged by doctor By Dr. Caal @childtrends Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • Non-judgmental doctor will be able to make patients feel comfortable -then engage in conversation By Dr. Caal @childtrends Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • Important for doctors to be educators for patients who might not have knowledge By Dr. Caal @childtrends Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • Many patients don’t know where to begin to start asking questions By Dr. Caal @childtrends Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • Nurses/ Health Educators can help patients before they see doctor. By Dr. Caal @childtrends Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • They can help generate questions for patients By Dr. Caal @childtrends Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • Health educators- good idea to help provide information to patients By Dr. Caal @childtrends Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • Health educators can help walk along with patients and… By Dr. Caal @childtrends Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • …and help empower them By Dr. Caal @childtrends Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • Patients feel that there’s not enough time with doctor By Dr. Caal @childtrends Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • …sometimes doctor isn’t even paying attention to them. By Dr. Caal @childtrends Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • Review data first then just engage. By Dr. Caal @childtrends Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • Meet patients where they are By Dr. Caal @childtrends Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • No matter the vehicle doctors use to communicate, it’s important… By Dr. Caal @childtrends Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • Important for patients to know privacy is kept…otherwise… By Dr. Caal @childtrends Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • …otherwise trust is going to be hurt. By Dr. Caal @childtrends Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges

TEDMED John Cox Healthin30John Cox @epjohn


  • Healthcare system cares about the overall patient outcome. By John Cox @epjohn Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • Important for patients to partner with their physicians. By John Cox @epjohn Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • Maximize the time; be prepared with the right questions By John Cox @epjohn Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • Email, chat and social media are great for filling in the details, but… By John Cox @epjohn Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • … they don’t replace the concern, empathy and non-verbal elements. By John Cox @epjohn Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • Technology is good to help being a conduit for conveying and capturing the details… By John Cox @epjohn Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • …data and decision point. By John Cox @epjohn Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • Make conversations digital and capture in a visual format helps By John Cox @epjohn Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • Use ipads to share images. By John Cox @epjohn Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • Health care not one size fits all. By John Cox @epjohn Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges
  • Multimodal communication. You don’t have to get it all in one place. By John Cox @epjohn Via @BarbaraFicarra @TEDMED #greatchallenges

More on TEDMED

TEDMED Great Challenges of Health and Medicine – Medical Communication

TEDMED Great Challenges: Improving Medical Communication-Sound Bites for Twitter

Connect with me | Stay in touch

Your turn

What Twitter sound bites do you have to improve medical communication in health care today?  Please share them in the comment section below.

As always, thank you for your very valuable time.

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