What is the impact of communication in healthcare?

Regular communication can help coordinate care, help control chronic diseases, and improve overall quality of care. Involving patients in their care encourages patients to take charge of their health, which translates into better outcomes. The use of tools such as the hospital intranet can provide staff with access to procedures and policies related to specific patient care. This increases efficiency, as staff can spend less time searching for documentation and more time listening to their patients.

In addition, equipping your administrative or clinical staff with knowledge prevents errors in the workplace and reduces stress levels. It is clear that communication in any health environment can be the subject of such a comprehensive approach, which would define the priorities of an improvement program and make such an improvement initiative feasible on the ground, compared to a jungle of recommendations. Video conferencing is also a form of face-to-face communication, although it uses technology to connect participants. It is also essential that health systems establish a coherent communication strategy for the automated process of post-discharge outreach calls.

It is clear that punctuality contributes significantly to the efficiency of communication for all stakeholders. This is especially true in countries such as the United Kingdom, Denmark and the Netherlands, where general practitioners act as mandatory guardians and communication to and from secondary care determines the proper functioning of the health system. The main effects of poor communication in health care are reduced quality of care, poor patient outcomes, wasted resources, and high healthcare costs. From the point of view of health communication, these are times when the key medical information that healthcare providers send to the patient runs the risk of not being transferred or misinterpreted, or of being understood but overlooked.

The most common communication failures among doctors refer to the lack of communication of important information about the patient's symptoms or condition and to poor documentation of patient information. Verbal communication, such as asking permission to sit next to the patient and bring the chair closer to the head of the bed, can also have a positive effect. Studies show that patients perceive that the provider has spent more time with them when they are sitting than when they are standing. However, communication training for doctors and other health professionals has historically received much less attention throughout the training process than other clinical tasks.

To prepare patients for a safe transition from hospital to home, many major health systems have developed specific workflows designed to improve communication methods during this critical time in the patient's journey. The medical safety experts at CRICO Strategies investigated 23,000 medical malpractice lawsuits and found that more than 7,000 of those lawsuits could be attributed to communication failures. Patients' perception of the quality of the medical care they receive depends largely on the quality of their interactions with their healthcare provider, since communication is a key point of interaction throughout their experience, from the waiting room to the doctor's office. CC&C solutions include HIPAA compliant text messaging platforms that can be used by all members of the care team to communicate with each other efficiently and effectively.

Although healthcare providers devote a significant amount of their time to communication, studies that attempt to quantify the economic impact of effective communication are very scarce. Communication failures most often occur during shift changes, when a patient's care is transferred to the hands of another caregiver. .

Lily Prach
Lily Prach

Infuriatingly humble bacon ninja. Lifelong internet specialist. Infuriatingly humble beeraholic. Subtly charming social media junkie. Hipster-friendly food lover.