“Relationship Power in Health Care” – A new book confirms the importance of relationship-skills

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As the cartoon says, ‘Relationships Have Power.’ Unfortunately not much when a health professional’s relationship is with your electronic record – not you.

Relationship Power in Health Care: Science of Behavior Change, Decision-Making and Clinician Self-Care is a new book by John B Livingstone MD and Joanne Gaffney RN, LICSW. This cartoon is from the book.

I’ve just started to skim this text book and it excites me for two reasons. 1) It’s about my favorite topic – the seminal importance of relationship between provider and patient. 2) The book is a declaration, based on much research and professional experience, that the relationship in healthcare between provider and patient is an integral part of successful outcomes and healing. And, that medical training all but leaves this out of the curriculum.

This book’s authors are extremely learned, with both medical and therapy backgrounds, and aim to equip health professionals to work constructively with patients, taking into account that patients are whole human beings. That while we don’t see it on display, we come into the exam room an entire library of personal beliefs, memories, experiences and cognitions.

I don’t know how successful a book can be in this mission, but it’s recognition how grossly needed relationship skills are.


Maybe we got obesity wrong

A moving, humble and heartfelt 15 minute talk by Dr. Peter Attia, who as a young surgeon, felt utter contempt for a diabetic patient he had to perform an amputation on. Couldn’t she have avoided getting fat? It’s not that hard, he thought, now she has to have her foot removed!

That judgment, and his own 40 pound weight gain and loss, made him think twice about obesity. Maybe we have this obesity thing all wrong he thought. Maybe it’s not obesity that causes insulin resistance, diabetes and metabolic syndrome  – but insulin resistance that causes obesity and these linked conditions.

I’ve heard this before and I think he’s right. The talk is well worth watching.