Consultation Process

This analysis of the process involved in health care professionals’ consultations to patients includes a discussion of both good practices as well as techniques that should be avoided as identified by leading authorities in this field of study. It also addresses proper body language postures, types, and appropriateness of questions and the various barriers that the health care professionals face when attempting to effectively communicate to patients.Concepts and structuring theories regarding the consultation process have and will continue to develop. One of the most recognized early works describing the importance of the consultation process was in the 1957 book The Doctor, the Patient, and his Illness by Michael Balint (updated 1964). In 1977, the definition of the duties for general practice by the Royal College of General Practitioners included the concern for not only the physical condition of the patient but their social and psychological needs as well. In 1984, in a collaborative effort that included several GP’s in the Oxford area, David Pendleton et al (1984) wrote about what was then the new method of consultations via videotaping.The health care professional (HCP) cannot allocate consultations with the patient if positive results are expected. Generally speaking, for the communication to be effectual, this essential clinical task involves politely and considerately listening to every patient while demonstrating respect for their viewpoint. The HCP should also provide the patient with honest information delivered in such a way that the patient fully comprehends it while, at the same time, observing their entitlement to be totally involved in the decisions made concerning their treatment (General Medical Council, 1998).