Surgical Training Programs Beginning to Teach Communication Skills

August 14, 2013 | Strategic Insights for Health System


In recent years, many surgical training programs have begun to teach residents communication and care coordination skills, states an article in the August 2013 Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons. The focus on communication stems in part from the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education’s (ACGME) identification of communication as one of six core competencies for physicians, increasing fragmentation of care due to specialization, and greater need for sign-outs and handoffs due to the 80-hour work week. Checklists—which have been used to improve quality and patient safety in healthcare for at least 20 years—are one topic that residents are learning about. In surgery, checklists help to overcome the barriers to communication that arise when members of the surgical team have never worked together, among other challenges. One is the checklist developed as part of the World Health Organization’s Safe Surgery Saves Lives campaign.

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