Posted on October 13, 2016

Qatar University College of Medicine (QU-CMED) held on October 11 a workshop aimed to present a contextual model of communication which can be mapped on to professional expertise in an integrated manner, and to outline the theoretical and descriptive underpinnings of such an integrated perspective on communicative expertise while considering the challenges of assessment in educational and training settings.

Themed “A Contextual Model of Healthcare Communication: Challenges for Description and Assessment”, the forum brought together health care professionals and researchers from several colleges within QU, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), and Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q). Attendees included QU VP for Medical Education and CMED Dean Dr Egon Toft, CMED Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Dr Hossam Hamdy, CMED Head of Basic Medical Science Department Prof Marwan Farouk Abu-Hijleh, and Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) Assistant Medical Director of Professional Development Dr Ameeta Patel, as well as CMED faculty, staff, and students.

The program agenda included lectures delivered by Prof Srikant Sarangi, Director of Danish Institute of Humanities and Medicine (DIHM) at Aalborg University, Denmark, on “An Overview of Concepts & Themes in Healthcare Communication” and “Analyzing Healthcare Communication Data from a Contextual Perspective”. Prof Sarangi noted the many challenges facing contemporary health care and which encompass globalization and cultural diversity, bureaucratization, ethical dilemmas, health technology and digitalization, consumerism and the coming of age of the expert patient. He stressed the need to reconfigure professional expertise, including communicative expertise.

“Language/communication-based health care studies related to discourse have been carried out over the past four decades, both within quantitative and qualitative research paradigms”, he said, adding, “The conceptualization of communication goes beyond the behavioral model of a skill-set to capture it as a dynamic system and environment, comprising content and relationship. By extension, the scope of communication teaching in health care curricula has to include not only doctor-patient encounter in the spoken form but also communication with and about patients in other modalities such as writing, inclusive of inter-professional and inter-organizational mediations.”

Prof Sarangi also noted that an adequate level of description of the multi-layered health care communication process is a necessary precondition for its assessment in the curricular setting and for its operationalization in real-life professional practice. The lecture was followed by a Q&A session in which participants fielded questions on issues related to specificities of the Qatari health care context, comparative discussions related to communication styles in various medical settings and cultures, and the influence of technological advancements and patient access to information on patient communication styles in the present and the future.