Being blunt works when breaking bad news

When breaking bad news to patients, it's okay to skip the preamble and cut straight to the chase, Australian research suggests.

Studying how bad news is delivered, researchers found 37% of doctors used a "blunt", to-the-point approach, while 45% used a more subtle, "forecasting" approach of priming the patient first.

The forecasting approach, whereby doctors open with a brief discussion before explicitly delivering the news, is recommended as a way to reduce shock and facilitate information processing.