Is our incapacity for conversation a serious barrier to person centred medicine?

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Richard B Hovey
Nareg Apelian


In 2007, Vessey and Blauwkamp readdressed Gadamer’s 1972 essay ‘‘The Incapacity for Conversation’’ where the question of how changes in present society communicates is creating an incapacity for conversation. This manuscript further explores this idea about whether we are becoming influenced and charmed by the brevity of #communication i.e., text messaging, tweets, emoticons, speed-dating, and sound-bites. These popular cultural phenomena can become even more pronounced in medicine, where communication as conversation is reduced to checklists, interdisciplinary and patient debriefings, numeric technologic test results and perhaps a from of speed-patient(ing). Consequently, we may be eroding our already undervalued capacity to participate in person centred conversations due to the demands of modern medical practice.

Article Details

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Author Biographies

Richard B Hovey, Division of Oral Health and Society, Faculty of Dentistry, McGill University

Associate ProfessorDirector of Faculty DevelopmentDivision of Oral Health and Society, Faculty of Dentistry, McGill University

Nareg Apelian, Division of Oral Health and Society, Faculty of Dentistry, McGill University

Assistant Professordirector of Continuing Dental Professional Education Division of Oral Health and Society


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