Doctors should do ‘biopsychosocial’ biopsies, where they learn who their patients are as people

There is more to the technique of the biopsychosocial biopsy. Although it can be performed while standing, it should feel like a conversation and is better done with the doctor sitting by the seated patient, or at the bedside. While tissue biopsies require that the doctor maintain a strictly sterile operative field, the biopsychosocial biopsy is a “nonsterile” procedure: the doctor should try to be warm and human rather than austere and distantly “professional.” Nonverbal cues are critical: body language, tone of voice and eye-contact often communicate curiosity, concern and safety more clearly than what the doctor actually says, and help a patient feel comfortable enough to share personal details.

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