Communication

"The two words 'information' and 'communication' are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things.  Information is giving out; communication is getting through."
Sydney J. Harris, journalist for the Chicago Daily News

This document has been peer reviewed by Fellows of the RACP to help you find high quality CPD resources on communication.

Last updated June 2017.

Resources are categorised by type:

  1. Key organisations & websites
  2. Webcasts
  3. Courses
  4. Tools
  5. Key journals
  6. Recommended reading

Professional Development in Communication

Honing your communication skills will benefit not only your personal working experience but also minimise any confusion and misunderstandings that could lead to bigger problems.

Exemplary behaviours include:

  • Clearly articulating the rationale behind the diagnostic process
  • Empowering patients and respecting their rights in all aspects of communication
  • Seeking timely and accurate information during interactions with patients and colleagues

For further information on patterns of behaviour and behaviour markers in the area
of communication please refer to the SPPPGuide.

Short on time?

1. Key Organisations & Websites

Useful as a starting point and overview of current work in this area

CPD tipCPD TIP:  Don’t forget to claim CPD credits for any learning from these websites. Download the current MyCPD Framework here. 

  • Institute for Healthcare Communication
    The IHC offers unique and valuable training programs to help individual clinicians communicate more effectively with patients, families and with one another.

  • American Academy on Communication in Healthcare
    The AACH aims to improve communications and relationships in healthcare. They provide extensive resources including articles and videos on expanding awareness and communication skills within and beyond healthcare.

  • Cognitive Institute
    The Cognitive Institute is an international provider of healthcare education. Their education resources are designed and delivered by clinicians who understand the challenges of modern healthcare.

2. Webcasts

Useful for brief overviews of topics and recent developments

CPD tipCPD tip: Don’t forget to claim CPD credits for any learning from these webcasts in Category 5 (1 credit/hr). Download the current MyCPD Framework here.

  • Improving Patient-Doctor Communication
    This video is produced by Radius Magazine, a joint newsletter of the MAA and Sydney Medical School. It outlines common issues affecting patient-doctor communication and recommendations to get around them.

3. Courses

Useful for in depth, structured learning

CPD tipCPD tip: Don’t forget to claim CPD credits for any learning from these courses. Download the current MyCPD Framework here. 

  • Cognitive Institute Clinical Communication Program
    The CCP is an intensive, structured and hands-on interpersonal skills program to enhance communication skills and create behaviour and attitudinal change. It is conducted over six months and centres around a three day workshop.

  • CEC: Open Disclosure Program
    The Clinical Excellence Commission has a suite of information, instructions and modules on open disclosure - a process for ensuring open, honest, empathic and timely discussions occur between patients and health care staff.

  • DocCom
    DocCom is an online curriculum covering 42 multimedia modules that present key principles, evidence-based recommendations and a behaviour skills checklist.

  • BMJ Learning Communication Skills
    The BMJ Learning module will help you gain insight into different ways of communicating and assist in making the most of your own skills.

4. Tools

Useful for implementing what you have learned in your daily practice

CPD tipCPD tip: Don’t forget to claim CPD credits for any learning from these tools. Download the current MyCPD Framework here. 

  • Vital Talk: Discussion Guides for Clinicians
    VitalTalk aims to nurture healthier connections between patients and clinicians. They provide a series of one page guides on difficult conversations and communication.

  • Clinical Communications
    The Clinical Communications program, from the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare, provides a range of toolkits, guides and other resources on patient-clinician communication. 

5. Key Journals

Useful for keeping up to date with research and finding out more on specific topics

CPD tipCPD tip: Don’t forget to claim CPD credits for your time reading these journals in Category 5 (1 credit/hr). Download the current MyCPD Framework here. 

  • Journal of Health Communication
    Journal of Health Communication is a peer-reviewed quarterly that presents the latest developments in health communication, including research in social marketing, shared decision making, communication, psychology, government, and health education internationally.

  • Communication and Medicine
    Communication and Medicine journal aims to consolidate different traditions of discourse and communication research in healthcare practice in clinical and public health domains.

  • Patient Education and Counselling
    Patient and Education Counselling is an official journal of the European Association for Communication in Healthcare (EACH) and the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare (AACH). The journal seeks to explore and elucidate educational, counselling and communication models in health care.

6. Recommended Reading

Useful for keeping up to date with research and finding out more on specific topics

CPD tipCPD tip: Don’t forget to claim CPD credits for your time spent on these readings in Category 5 (1 credit/hr). Download the current MyCPD Framework here. 

  • Doctor, Shut Up and Listen
    An op-ed published in The New York Times depicting how a doctor's ability to explain, listen and empathise has a profound impact on a patient's care.

  • The Talking Cure for Health Care
    A big picture report of the benefits and downfalls of communications practises and the strategies put in place to improve doctor-patient communication.

Send Us Your Feedback:

RACP curated collections are managed by the Learning Support Unit, based on the contributions and peer review of Fellows of the College and other experts.

We thank A/Professor Peter Martin, Dr Sarah Dalton and A/Prof Grant Phelps for their contributions to the Communication page.

Tell us what you think about this page and make suggestions for improvement by emailing myresources@racp.edu.au.  

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