Is Communication an Overlooked Quality in Healthcare?

Effective communication is a bedrock of every industry and yet, it’s often taken for granted, especially in healthcare. Why is that? Read on

Communication in healthcare concept | Doctor talking to a patient sitting on a hospital bed
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

If you are a healthcare professional, cast your mind back to the rigorous hours of medical training. The fragile nature of healthcare underscores the critical need for appropriate technical skills and knowledge to navigate the industry safely.

While technical proficiency is undoubtedly crucial, does its prominence sometimes overshadow equally vital human skills, such as effective communication with patients and their families?

Why Is Communication Important in Healthcare?

Effective communication serves as the cornerstone of success in various spheres of life. Whether preventing international conflicts, salvaging marriages, driving business revenue, or fostering successful sports teams, the quality of communication stands as a significant predictor of positive outcomes for all involved.

Studies consistently demonstrate that individuals who communicate effectively and articulate themselves appropriately in the workplace are more likely to receive promotions, earn client or patient approval, and achieve higher levels of productivity. Conversely, an overwhelming 86% of employees cite the lack of effective collaboration and communication as the primary cause of workplace failure, suggesting that improving internal communication could enhance organizational performance by up to 25%.

It’s evident that within the healthcare industry, effective communication with both patients and colleagues involved in procedures is crucial for ensuring positive patient satisfaction and cultivating a robust workplace culture. This necessity drives innovation in fields such as medical scribing, exemplified by companies like

Communicating With Patients

In the delicate landscape of healthcare, effective communication is even more critical than in many other workplaces. It extends beyond delivering efficient customer service; it entails providing genuine reassurance, information, and compassion regarding a patient’s health.

Healthcare providers must approach interactions with genuine care, compassion, and respect for patients and their caregivers to promote positive outcomes and meet quality of care standards. This can only be achieved through effective communication. Even if healthcare professionals harbor deep empathy towards a struggling patient, failing to visibly display or audibly articulate this care renders it ineffective in conveying support to the patient and their family.

Effective communication should foster a collaborative dialogue among patients, families, and care providers, wherein all parties speak, listen, and empathize without interruptions, condescension, or disregard for each other’s perspectives. Patients ask questions to seek information, clarity, or express genuine concerns; thus, it’s crucial to listen and respond with care.

Given the expectation of long-standing, intimate relationships between healthcare professionals and patients, rapport must be developed through effective communication. Failing to address a patient’s concerns over time may lead to reluctance in disclosing essential health details in the future.

An open, honest, and respectful dialogue serves as a cornerstone for ensuring a patient’s long-term health and wellbeing.

Related » Never Make These Body Language Mistakes at Work

Communicating Across the Workplace

Once again, healthcare’s sensitivity underscores the importance of thorough communication across all levels of the institution. A single communication lapse may not impact revenue as in other workplaces but can have genuine consequences for patient health.

Hierarchical structures prevalent in many healthcare settings should not impede successful communication between physicians, often at the top of the hierarchy, and nurses or allied health professionals, who play indispensable roles in patient care. Lower-ranking staff should feel empowered to express concerns or opinions about operations, while higher-ranking individuals must be willing to listen and consider their input.

Moreover, healthcare contexts are often fast-paced, frantic, and culturally diverse, making it easy for information to be misunderstood or lost in translation. Healthcare providers must ensure that the information they convey is accurately received and that they understand the information they receive.

So, Does the Importance of Communication Get Overlooked in Healthcare?

While there is no definitive consensus on the adequacy of communication within UK healthcare, studies indicate that 23% of patients express concerns about the care they receive, with poor communication being a significant contributing factor. Therefore, there is room for improvement in medical training to ensure effective communication among patients and colleagues.

Summing up

In conclusion, effective communication stands as a linchpin in healthcare, crucial for fostering positive patient outcomes and building a thriving workplace culture. By prioritizing communication skills in medical training and practice, healthcare professionals can enhance patient satisfaction, promote better care delivery, and fortify the foundations of the healthcare system.

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