Doctor Uses Jazz to Tune up Physician Communication

Ryan Chiavetta, for HealthLeaders Media , June 6, 2014

Paul Haidet, MD, applies lessons gleaned from his lifelong love of jazz to teach physicians how to better communicate with patients.

Every time Paul Haidet, MD, goes into the clinic, he thinks of Miles Davis.


Paul Haidet, MD

The legendary jazz musician might not be your typical inspirational figure for a general internist, but Davis has taught Haidet some vital lessons.

Haidet has fused his professional career with his lifelong passion for jazz music and in the process, discovered how together the two can improve healthcare communications.

Mixing medicine and jazz by studying physician-patient interactions, Haidet has learned how the relationship between the two can be greatly improved through improvisation, a vital aspect of jazz music.

During his time at Penn State as director of medical education research and as a professor of medicine, humanities and public health sciences, Haidet has taught a class on this theory, hoping to help young physicians craft solid traits when they begin interacting with patients.

If he can create some jazz fans along the way, he figures that's an added bonus.

Communications Breakdown
Trained as a health services researcher, Haidet developed an interest in healthcare communications. After years of researching physician-patient communication, he found that medical communication, when done well, is an inherently improvisational activity.

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