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Just back from some relaxing time on Amelia Island where I had time to listen to my grandson and my wife. Really listen, instead of just nod my head and move on to something that seemed more important. I liked what I heard and intend to be a better listener when meeting with my clients.

Dr. Victoria McEvoy, the chief of pediatrics and the medical director of the Mass. General West Medical Group, and assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, apparently had similar thoughts about listening.

Missing in medicine: time to listen

I wonder whether we should shed the long list of healthcare priorities and go back to listening to our patients’ stories. Many of the so-called data entries could easily be performed by modern technology. Perhaps some issues — like wearing a bicycle helmet and locking up firearms — could be better handled by a public health campaign than a pediatrician.

We still need human beings to listen, assess, empathize, and, perhaps, recommend, and that is the art of medicine.

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