84398 - Communication with Patients

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

Demonstrate skills adequate to obtain and give clear and relevant information by adapting verbal communication to the cognitive and emotional status of patients/ caregivers. Recognize the variations in the emotions, mood and stress perceived by patients in different clinical settings. Apply empathy-oriented strategies of interaction to improve compliance to medical care. Develop strategies of decision making to obtain informed consent from patients/caregivers for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

Course contents

  • Bottom-Up and Top-Down Processes in Perception
  • Pavlovian and Operant Conditioning; Social Learning
  • The role of the psychosocial context around the patient and the therapy on clinical outcomes
  • Placebo and Nocebo responses
  • Social Modulation of Pain


  • Goldstein E.B. Cognitive Psychology. Connecting mind, research, and everyday Experience. Third Edition
    2011, 2008 Wadsworth, Cengage Learning
  • Benedetti F. (2013) Placebo and the new physiology of the doctor-patient relationship Physiol Rev 93: 1207–1246
  • Colloca L. Finnis D. (2012). Nocebo effects, patient-clinician communication, and therapeutic outcomes. JAMA, 307: 567-8
  • Blasini, M et al. (2017). Nocebo and Pain: an overview of the psychoneurobiological mechanisms. Pain, e585.

Teaching methods

The Communication with Patients class consist of 2 CFU of 16 hours of lectures supported by slides.

Attendance to learning activities is mandatory; the minimum attendance requirement to be admitted to the final exam is 60% of lessons held in the integrated course "84397 - Communication Tools". Students who fail to meet the minimum attendance requirement will not be admitted to the final exam of the course, and will have to attend relevant classes again during the next academic year.

Excused absences may be authorized upon receipt of proper justifying documentation, in case of illness or serious reasons. Excused absences do not count against a student’s attendance record to determine their minimum attendance requirement.


Assessment methods

Student learning will be assessed at the end of the Integrated Course "Communication Tools" by 35 multiple-choice questions (nr. 15 for Communications with Patients, n. 5 for Communications with Colleagues and Teamwork, n. 15 for Communication with Scientific World) in 90-minute test.

Exam marks will be published after 7 days on AlmaEsami. The student can refuse the mark within 2 days from publication by emailing Prof. Mattarozzi from the institutional email address @studio.unibo.it, using “Refusal” as email object.

2 days after the publication, the acceptance of the final mark will be taken for granted and the grade will be recorded.

Marks below 18 (failing grades) will not be recorded.

In case of failure or refusal, students can retake the exam on the first available examination date.

Teaching tools

Teaching slides will be available on line at Unibo e-learning website https://iol.unibo.it

Office hours

See the website of Katia Mattarozzi