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The Patient Communication Education Series

Improve patient experience, quality care, and value-based reimbursement through better physician communication.


Course Overview

The Astute Doctor COMMUNICATE Program is a suite of 8 CME-accredited online courses that improve physician-patient interpersonal communication and enrich the patient experience. The program addresses many of the quality measures evaluated in CAHPS surveys with evidence-based techniques to deliver empathic, patient-centered care.

Delivered in an engaging audiovisual experience, Astute Doctor courses expedite learning through narrated animations, case studies, and interactive diagrams. Our courses help physicians make the most of every patient encounter by enhancing their ability to show courtesy and respect, to listen attentively, and explain things clearly to patients.

Needs Assessment

The benefits of good communication between physician and patient have been demonstrated in many studies, but unfortunately, communication problems in medical practice are still quite common.

Research indicates that in about 50% of all encounters, the patient and the physician do not share a mutual understanding of the primary concern leading to unresolved medical complaints. Recent data-identifying issues in physician-patient encounters have shown that patients often do not understand or retain what their physician has said:

18% – 45%




60% – 68%






Furthermore, it has been found that physicians interrupt their patients an average of 18 seconds from the start of the conversation, and once interrupted, patients rarely continue to express their true concerns.

It is important to address poor listening skills and interrupting during the patient dialogue. Asking patients why they have come to see you, and eliciting patients’ feelings, ideas, and expectations about an illness may seem like a logical approach, but this takes place in less than half of all medical encounters. Adopting a patient-centered approach to communication is proven to improve care quality, patient experience, and health outcomes.





Course Overview

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Build Strong Patient Relationships

Build strong rapport with patients quickly, gain your patient’s respect, and improve patient experience. This interactive online course shows how to facilitate an open, productive dialogue and achieve breakthroughs in patient understanding and acceptance.

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Eliciting Patient Concerns

Encourage early disclosure of patient concerns, optimize encounter time management, and improve patient experience. This interactive online course shows how to prioritize patient concerns, build patient trust, identify opportunities for empathy, and respond to patient feelings using empathy.

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Patient-Centered Information Gathering

Uncover deep insights about the nature of patient symptoms, achieve earlier and more accurate diagnoses, and improve patient experience. This interactive online course shows how to facilitate patient-centered encounters, gather critical information, increase patient understanding, and attain greater medication adherence.

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Maximizing Patient Understanding And Recall

Make your treatment instructions more memorable, deliver explanations that patients understand, and improve patient experience. This interactive online course shows how to build patient understanding, improve medication adherence, and facilitate patient recall at the right time.

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Motivating Patients

Overcome patient ambivalence, discuss the issue of change with patients, and improve patient experience. This interactive online course shows how to identify when a patient is ready for change, uncover personal drivers for lifestyle changes, gain patient commitment, and improve treatment adherence.

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Setting Mutually-Agreed Goals

Understand patient health goals, engage patients in decision making, and improve patient experience. This interactive online course shows how to agree with patients on mutual goals, overcome barriers to goal achievement, and negotiate with patients to find common ground.

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Managing Difficult Patients

Transform a difficult interaction into a productive dialogue, understand psychological drivers of difficult behaviors, and improve patient experience. This interactive online course shows how to strategically manage difficult encounters, avoid responses that worsen difficult interactions, and overcome difficult behaviors.

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Cross-Cultural Communication

Develop cultural competence, bridge cultural gaps, understand common culture-specific medical practices, and improve patient experience. This interactive online course shows how to avoid communication traps and cultural gaffes, build strong patient partnerships despite cultural differences, and manage language barriers.

Learning Objectives

By participating in this series, participants will:

Apply evidence-based, patient-centered, and empathic interpersonal techniques to improve doctor and patient satisfaction.

Apply evidence-based, patient-centered, and empathic interpersonal techniques to improve patient care.

Apply evidence-based, patient-centered, and empathic interpersonal techniques to reduce malpractice litigation risk.

Apply evidence-based, patient-centered, and empathic interpersonal techniques to connect effectively with patients.


You can enroll in the course series through the MedTrainer portal by contacting your organization’s account administrator or designee.

Call your Account Manager to benefit from this additional feature in your MedTrainer Learning Library. Once your registration is complete, log in and your course will be listed on the “My Student Dashboard” page. If you cannot remember your account information, click the “Get Username and Password” link on the login page and it will be emailed to you.

Target Audience

Physicians working in ambulatory or hospital settings.

This program is particularly useful for physicians who develop long-term relationships with patients and manage chronic conditions; for example, family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, oncology, rheumatology etc. The program is also highly relevant to other health professionals such as Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, and Nurses.

Course Requirement

Complete The Course Work

Score At Least 70% On The Post test

Fill Out The CME Evaluation

Additional Course Information

About This Course

11.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s) TM : Estimated time to complete this activity: 11.50 hours
Current Approval Period : January 1, 2019 – December 31, 2020
Author(s) : Grant Simic, BMedSci Susan Larsen, BA DISCLOSURE STATEMENT: All author(s), contributor(s), editor(s), and CME Office Reviewer(s) state that they do not have any financial arrangements with commercial interests that could constitute a conflict of interest.
CME Sponsor : University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson
Learning Format : Interactive online course with audio narration. Includes case studies and mandatory assessment questions (number of questions varies by course or module). Please also read our Technical Requirements .
Original Release Date : January 1, 2011
Most Recent Review by Author : January 1, 2019
Most Recent Review by CME Sponsor : January 1, 2019
Financial Support Received : None

ACCME/AMA PRA Accreditation and CME Designation Statement
This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint provider-ship of The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson and Astute Doctor Education, Inc. The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson designates this enduring material for a maximum of 11.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s) TM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

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What are our clients saying?

Raquel LaFleurStephanie TillmanWendy P. PartainSheri KruegerRivera, LakeshaPaul Sygall
"No one has given me any complaints about the BLS course. It is nice that they can stop and restart when necessary. Really is a benefit that they an continue patient care without having to leave the office for a few hours to attend a class off campus."
Raquel LaFleur
Administrative Assistant ( Arbor Family Health )
"BLS training has been so much easier for us in scheduling and having staff complete.We are very satisfied on this service and appreciate the price match that you are able to provide for our group."
Stephanie Tillman
Executive Assistant ( Southeast Lung Associates )
"The BLS renewal courses have been a real lifesaver! Instead of having to schedule classes and block out office time for our providers to take a 3 - hour class to renew their certifications, the can now take the online course at their convenience. I love the ability to assign them myself and give them a “due date” for completion. When they complete the course, the new temporary certification card is attached to their course certificate and the permanent card is automatically mailed to the address on file in MedTrainer. What else can I say? It is a ‘win-win’!."
Wendy P. Partain
Human Resources/Credentialing Specialist ( Urological Associates of Savannah, P.C )
"The BLS and ACLS courses are very convenient for our staff since they are done right on line through MedTrainer. Much nicer than-having morning or evening classes to try and get our staff to attend. It is a nice option and easy to use product"
Sheri Krueger
Director of Cardiovascular Services ( Heart and Vascular Institute of Wisconsin )
" Unfortunately, the person who was assigned to viewing and assigning the courses to providers is currently furloughed due to this lovely pandemic. She would be the best person to provide a testimonial to be completely honest.I will say we are using the program as a remedy for providers who score lower than our expectations on Press Ganey scores in specific areas. "
Rivera, Lakesha
"We found the program satisfactory to fit our needs for re-certification. As with all of these programs, it is time consuming, often redundant, and unfortunately, it lacks the "practical" simulation of a "mega-code". In spite of those shortcomings, the program, itself, was clear, concise, well planned and executed, and appreciated by our group. The information was practical, up to date and provided in an unbiased manner. There were no "gimmicks" or "short cuts", per se, and no extraneous advertisements and/or distractions that interfered with the learning process."
Paul Sygall
Greenwich Anesthesiology Associates