Narrative highlighting Curiosity, Compassion, Clarity, and Courage

In a narrative published in Patient Education and Counseling, “A matter of the heart”, Pål Gulbrandsen reflects on two very different patients with chest pain he met in clinical practice. In addition to highlighting four important virtues of a physician, curiosity, compassion, clarity, and courage, the paper demonstrates how the way we practice medicine these days teaches people that more examinations always are good, and hence reinforces the burden on healthcare costs. Read the paper here.

New Norwegian Four Habits communication skills courses available

Today we added seven new 2-day courses in the Norwegian version of the Four Habits – 4 gode vaner – to our calendar and courses. These courses build on the development of the Four Habits Approach to Effective Clinical Communication in Kaiser Permanente, California, USA since 1989. Following their important contribution and a pilot in Oslo in August 2006, we developed an adjusted Norwegian version that was tested in a randomised controlled trial in 2007-08. We found that a condensed 20-hour training over two days was effective and changed physician behavior. Also, more than three years after the course, 60% of the physicians stated that the course had changed their practice ever after. Later, the approach has been used in Sweden and Germany, and research projects are launched in Cologne and drafted in Uppsala. Akershus University Hospital and the University of Oslo currently invest in the development of a teach-the-teachers program in order to foster a higher capacity for post-graduate teaching and supervision.

New research positions at Akershus University Hospital

The health services research group at Akershus University Hospital, in which Pål Gulbrandsen’s communication research group is embedded, has launched a call for 2-3 researchers. These positions are not locked to communication research, the quality of the applications will guide who will get the positions. But this is definitely an opportunity for researchers in the field of communication. We are continuously building a stronger group, now comprising three PhD students with background in medicine, linguistics, and professional ethics, as well as a senior anthropologist and a postdoctoral Canadian psychologist. We will focus our studies on the details of information exchange and shared decision making. Deadline for the application is March 23, 2014. Unfortunately the call is not available in English. We will probably give priority to Scandinavian speaking applicants (Norwegian, Swedish, Danish), but are open for discussions with others. See call stillingsannonse_seniorforskere-våren 2014.

Doctor-patient transcribed corpus of 194 encounters now published

Of the 497 originally collected videotapes of doctor-patient encounters from Akershus University Hospital 2007-08, 194 are now transcribed and tagged by the Institute of Nordic and Linguistic Studies at the University of Oslo, thus forming the Lege-pasient-korpuset (Doctor-Patient Corpus). All information in the dialogues that could identify any of the speakers has been anonymised. The Regional Ethics Committee has accepted publication to make these dialogues available for researchers everywhere (though as they are in Norwegian, use outside of Scandinavia is hardly likely). By allowing this, Arnstein Finset, Pål Gulbrandsen, and Bård Fossli Jensen, the researchers behind the original study, hope to achieve that several research groups in Scandinavia will profit on their work. The only requirement is that they want to be informed about use of the corpus, and asked to participate in the research if the study subject requires medical or psychological expertise. The ultimate goal is to create more insight in how doctors and patients talk together, in order to improve the teaching of doctors. A news story about the corpus was published on the website for Norwegian research news today at (in Norwegian).

Great communication skills courses – vacant places

There are still some places on the 2014 Train the Trainers courses sponsored by tEACH, the teaching committee of the European Association for Communication in Healthcare (EACH). These courses are aimed at supporting teachers of communication skills in health care across all professional groups and at all levels of experience. Please review the tEACH website for more detailed information on each course. Please note the new deadline for registration for all the spring 2014 courses (What to teach, How to teach, and Assessment) is 15 February 2014. The spaces for participants are limited so if you are interested in attending please contact soon to sign up. Participation will be on a first come, first serve basis.

Final program of 3rd international OCHER workshop

The 3rd international OCHER workshop takes place January 15-17 in Lørenskog nearby Oslo in the same venue as always, the Thon Hotel Triaden Lørenskog. This time we have 46 participants from the USA, UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. The program counts 30 abstracts in addition to six invited plenaries. See the Detailed program 3rd OCHER 2014 final Dec 4.

30 abstracts received for the 3rd OCHER international workshop

We have received 30 abstracts for the 3rd OCHER international workshop and are now composing the meeting. As it looks, preliminary grouping of abstracts into sessions will be Methods, Migration, Understanding prevention, Teaching, Openings, System evaluation, Information giving, Caring, Emotions, and Decisions. The final program will appear within two weeks on this site.

International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare

OCHER members Pål Gulbrandsen and Bård Fossli Jensen have been invited to present a 30 minute lecture at the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare in Paris, April 8-11, 2014. This invitation represents a strong recognition of the importance of doctor-patient communication training in the continuing endeavour to increase quality of care and improve patient safety. The title of the presentation isSafety, not satisfaction: Patient-centered communication training in a new medical era.

3rd OCHER international workshop

The 3rd OCHER international workshop preliminary program was mailed to invited participants Sep 13. Please note the deadlines: Registration including abstract October 21 to, booking of accomodation and meals for OCHER members October 21 to, booking of accomodation/daypackages directly to the Thon Hotel Triaden, Lørenskog for non-OCHER members January 2. If you have any queries, contact

Presenters for the 3rd OCHER international workshop on communication research

Presenters for the 3rd OCHER international workshop on communication research will be the physician Mary Catherine Beach, associate professor, MD PhD, Johns Hopkins, Baltimore ,USA, sociologist Paul Drew, professor, Loughborough University, UK, and linguist Christopher Koenig, conversation analyst, University of California, San Fransisco, USA. The workshop will be held on January 15-17, 2014, and is open to researchers from Denmark, Sweden and Norway. The venue is as usual Thon Hotel Triaden, Lørenskog, Norway.