gms | German Medical Science

12th Graz Conference – Quality of Teaching

18.09. - 20.09.2008 in Graz, Österreich

Doctor-patient-communication - new concepts of teaching and learning


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  • corresponding author Claudia Kiessling - Universität Basel, Medizinische Fakultät, Studiendekanat, Basel, Schweiz

12. Grazer Konferenz - Qualität der Lehre: Skills and Attitudes. Graz, Österreich, 18.-20.09.2008. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2009. Doc08grako06

doi: 10.3205/08grako06, urn:nbn:de:0183-08grako067

Received: January 15, 2009
Revised: February 5, 2009
Accepted: February 18, 2009
Published: April 6, 2009

© 2009 Kiessling.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.


The relevance of physicians’ communication skills for their professional life is increasingly accepted. Studies have shown that patients want doctors who are good communicators. Patients’ outcomes are positively correlated with health providers’ communication skills. Communication skills trainings are able to long-dated improve students’ and doctors’ performance. Therefore, it seems worthwhile to carefully plan and implement communication skills trainings in medical education. In the English speaking countries, consensus statements and guidelines on content, didactic methods, and assessment tools have been published in the last years. Some of these recommendations have become gold standard for planning and implementing communication skills trainings. Although many of these guidelines have already been recognised and used in the German speaking countries, many faculties have not considered these recommendations yet. To support the implementation of communication skills (and social competencies) into medical education, a German speaking consensus statement was developed called “Basel Consensus Statement: communicative and social competencies in medical education”. This consensus statement defines educational objectives that should be achieved by medical students at the end of their studies. Topics like general communicative and social competencies, doctor-patient-relationship, teamwork, personality and professionalism, critical appraisal and decision making have been included. Based on this consensus statement, further discussions on teaching and assessing communication skills from the first to the last year of medical studies have started in the last years and will be continued to support teachers and students in that important field of medical education.