Ethical Issues: Communication
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Nothing is more important to the welfare of patients, providers, and health care systems than effective patient centered communication. This occurs by having the knowledge, attitudes, skills, and organizational infrastructure to foster the comprehension and application of often-vast amounts of information. The first step in fostering patient centered communication is to encourage providers to understand their own health-related values and beliefs, recognizing that everyone may not share in those beliefs. Conflict may occur between providers and patients when difficult decisions are required at times of severe illness or at the end of life when there is miscommunication.