Today patient-physician relationships are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the communication of scientific information to citizens. This "new medical conversation" places on all of us - media, scientists, doctors and patients - new obligations for clearer communication than ever before. In "The New Medical Conversation", Dennis Mazur introduces and argues for better communication practice in the doctor-patient relationship during an era of changing technology, media and consumer awareness. Dr. Mazur lays out the terrain, the approaches and the strategies to best identify and understand what the problems are in risk communication in medicine and how to begin to solve them. Dr. Mazur gives special attention to the short information message - seen, heard and read by millions of people each day - designed to communicate aspects of scientific information to the patient and consumer. He draws the reader's attention to the design problems in these messages and then takes the reader into a far-reaching journey into the design and development of decision support systems as well as the practical, legal and ethical obligations of practitioners in a changing world. The society that Dr.
Mazur envisions is one in which everyone has an opportunity to understand the information that is going in both individual and societal decision making in medical-health care arenas, to understand how to interpret the communications that contain clear and precise terms, and to understand how to identify and approach ambiguous messages.
Dennis J. Mazur is professor of medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, senior scholar at the Center for Ethics in Health Care, and chairman on the Institutional Review Board at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Portland, Oregon.