The role of communication in shaping the course, direction, and outcomes of medical care has been known and documented for millennia. For example, in 848 b.c.e, Plato, a philosopher and physician, compared the communication style of so-called slave physicians to that of physicians who cared for free men and women. According to Plato, a slave physician “never gives a servant any account of his complaint, nor asks for any; he gives some empirical injunction, with an air of finished knowledge and is off in hot haste to the next ailing servant.” By contrast, the physician who cares for free men and women, “treats their diseases by going into things thoroughly from the beginning in a scientific way … He does not give his prescriptions until ...

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