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Program for Excellence in Patient-Centered Communication (PEP)

About PEP

In March 2016, UM SOM launched a special new program to enhance communication between faculty physicians and their patients. This program named The Program for Excellence in Patient-Centered Communication (or "PEP") is an evidence-based curriculum developed by the Academy of Communication in Healthcare (ACH). ACH has a longstanding record of successful partnerships with many other major health systems.

ACH develops their programs with the purpose of enhancing certain communication skills as identified by patient surveys. These include paying more attention to prioritizing the patient’s concerns about their illnesses, addressing the impact of suffering on their personal lives and emotional state and ensuring patients have a clear understanding about the details of their diagnosis and management planning.  

The interactive PEP workshop utilizes instruction and participant practice of specific communication skills to address these and other issues, thereby ensuring patient engagement and a more effective patient-clinician partnership in the whole process.  

The evidence shows that these relationship-centered communication skills can be incorporated into the usual assessment process without adding time to encounters. Physicians who adopt these skills report increased professional satisfaction.

Learning Goals of the Workshop

  • Building rapport and relationships
  • Acknowledging communication barriers
  • Recognizing patient perspectives
  • Negotiating an agenda
  • Asking open-ended questions
  • Eliciting the patient’s story
  • Listening reflectively
  • Responding with empathy


Continuing Education

Accreditation: The University of Maryland School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Credit Designation: The University of Maryland School of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 6.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Video – ACH Patient-Centered Communication


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