Vital Conversations


The health-care system in the United States is by far the most expensive in the world, yet its outcomes are decidedly mediocre in comparison with those of other countries. Poor communication between doctors and patients, Dennis Rosen argues, is at the heart of this disparity, a pervasive problem that damages the well-being of the patient and the integrity of the health-care system and society.

Drawing upon research in biomedicine, sociology, and anthropology and integrating personal stories from his medical practice in three different countries (and as a patient), Rosen shows how important good communication between physicians and patients is to high-quality — and less-expensive — care. Without it, treatment adherence and preventive services decline, and the rates of medical complications, hospital readmissions, and unnecessary testing and procedures rise. Rosen illustrates the consequences of these problems from both the caregiver and patient perspectives and explores the socioeconomic and cultural factors that cause important information to be literally lost in translation. He concludes with a prescriptive chapter aimed at building the cultural competencies and communication skills necessary for higher-quality, less-expensive care, making it more satisfying for all involved.


Editorial Reviews

This engaging read… provides patients tools they can use to improve dialogue with their doctors and, ultimately, improve their ultimate medical outcomes.

Renee Ghert-Zand, Times of Israel >> READ FULL REVIEW HERE

As a final-year medical student, I can’t help but wonder if my communication skills are at their peak—I have an abundance of time to spend with my patients, no financial targets to meet, and I receive regular training and feedback on this very aspect of my work. I will keep Rosen’s excellent book with me next year as a reminder not to let communication lose its place as the diagnostic tools become too many to fit in my box.

—Jina Pakpoor, The Lancet >> READ FULL REVIEW HERE

Rosen is an important role model; he is willing to show vulnerability by detailing mistakes and miscommunications he has made in his own practice of medicine, illuminating his own reactions and explaining the ways he learned from them.  In describing his sometimes painful learning process, Rosen also provides his readers with concrete skills to improve their own communication…. Vital Conversations is a thoughtful and accessible read for providers and patients alike – anyone who is willing to listen.

Liza Pine, The Arnold P. Gold Foundation>>READ FULL REVIEW HERE

Provides moving examples of actual patient scenarios…. [That]  establish Rosen as a caring and empathetic physician with a wealth of experience to share.

 Amy Forman, Massachusetts Jewish Journal  >>READ FULL REVIEW HERE

Timely…. Full of personal anecdotes, selected research [and] reader-friendly…Rosen’s book should be read by physicians and students of medicine and nursing, as well as laymen interested in our medical system.

—Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, The Jerusalem Post  >>READ FULL REVIEW HERE


 Amazon Reviews

5star Excellent book! – Jessica Nutik Zitter, Sept 8, 2014

Dr. Rosen gets right to the heart of the most important matter in healthcare— transferring information to those who need it most. Excellent book!