COGConnect is a visual resource for teaching and learning 21st Century consultation skills. With its tag line of “Connection. Cognition. Care”, it reminds learners and teachers that consulting is a whole-person commitment of head, heart and hand.

What are the qualities that underpin COGConnect?

Drawing on the communications research literature, we promote five qualities that patients like and to which practitioners can aspire. They are referred to as the “Five Cs” and are sequenced to reflect their likely appearance in the consultation process:

Compassionate - approaching clinical situations, colleagues and self, with kindness

Curious – keen to get the bonnet up on the intricacies of ill health

Critical – avoiding diagnostic bias and being discerning in the use of tests and treatments

Creative - trying to find new answers to old problems

Collaborative – ready to work alongside patients, carers and colleagues

How is COGConnect used in practice?

COGConnect is the fulcrum of a novel consultations skills training that integrates learning in the three domains of clinical reasoning, clinical communication and clinical skills and is badged as “Effective Consulting”.

We have developed a guide (CC-COG, COGConnect Consultation Observation Guide Oct 19 (PDF, 206kB)) for observing consultations based on the phases of COGConnect.  The following guide is an expanded version for when the student is undertaking telephone consultations. COG Connect Consultation observation guide form (PDF, 247kB) CC-COG sits on a single page of A4 (COGConnect one page overview (PDF, 337kB) and prompts the observer to make written comment on the consultation as it unfolds. As well as being used on students by tutors and trainers, it has been used by students when “sitting in” with practitioners and by students consulting in pairs.

Please see this online e-tutorial on how to use COGConnect in your teaching. Click here to view

Activating and the lifestyle conversation

Activating is a unique aspect of COGConnect. COGConnect sees every encounter as an opportunity to promote self-care – as outlined in Outcome 14m of the UK GMC’s Outcomes for Graduates ; Support and motivate the patient's self-care by helping them to recognise the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and motivating behaviour change to improve health and include prevention in the patient's management plan.

Students at Bristol University Medical School are taught the "lifestyle conversation" an overview of which you can find here. Lifestyle Conversations guide (Lifie v5) (PDF, 244kB) A visual aid of The Lifie (PDF, 137kB)

Interested in using COGConnect in your course or practice?

Contact Professor Trevor Thompson at

In COGConnect, we represent the consultation as two cogs – one for the practitioner and the other for the patient. These two previously separate entities come together in the heightened circumstances of the clinical encounter.

Trevor Thompson, Professor of Primary Care Education

Read this paper on COGConnect from Patient Education and Counselling (PDF, 705kB) with in-depth information on its rationale, development, and final structure.

COG Connect logo

The COGConnect model makes consultation so much less intimidating and being to put it into practice was vital to building confidence.

Bristol Medical Student
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