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Prof. Ellen M.A. Smets, PhD

Program leader Quality of Care

Professor in Medical Communication

Health care professionals generally spend more time communicating with patients then on any other medical intervention. Their words may benefit patients, but may also cause harm. This largely depends on the extent to which their communication resonates with patients’ needs, preferences and abilities. We are dedicated to increase our understanding of the mechanisms that contribute to effective and tailored information giving in medical consultations with the aim to improve patients’ quality of care. 

Ellen earned her master’s degree (1987) as a social psychologist at the University of Amsterdam, received her doctorate at the same university and has ever since been employed by the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam, at the department of Medical Psychology. Her research is aimed at clinician-patient communication, focusing on understanding and improving patient-centered information provision and decision making in clinical encounters. Current research addresses shared decision making, the communication of uncertainty (e.g. risks, prognosis) and non-verbal aspects of information exchange (e.g. eye-contact).

Ellen is also involved in the education and training of communication skills of medical students and clinicians (in training).

Contact information

Department of Medical Psychology

Meibergdreef 9, J3-220, 1105 AZ Amsterdam

Tel: +31(0)205664768

E-mail: e.m.smets@amsterdamumc.nl