Maples emphasizes benefits of effective communication, excellence to military medical leaders at Walter Reed forum

Dr. William Maples, Chief Medical Officer for Professional Research Consultants, Inc. and leader for The Institute for Healthcare Excellence, advocated for the creation of “a culture of excellence to deliver value and restore joy and resiliency to the practice of medicine” at an August 2 forum for leadership at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) in Bethesda, Maryland. The role of effective communication in driving meaningful patient-centered care cannot be overstated, he noted in a summary of the forum reported in The Journal, a Naval Support Activity publication.

Dr. Maples joined retired Army Col. Brian Foley, a former deputy commander of the former Walter Reed Health Care System, and Air Force Col. (Dr.) Jeffrey Bailey, WRNMMC director of surgery, on the dais. All believe that effective communication is the cornerstone of patient-centered care.

“The single most important factor in patient experience is the patient’s interaction and relationship with the physician,” said Dr. Maples. Patients expect good technical outcomes, he said, but “to better the total patient experience, providers need to couple excellent technical capacity with a team-based, patient-centered culture, which at its heart includes effective, compassionate, patient-centered communication.”

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Connecting with patients and their families, which includes involving them in decision-making, not only breaks down silos, Dr. Maples argues, it also alleviates caregiver burnout. The lack of formal communication training can inhibit a caregiver’s ability to deliver excellent care. “We can nurture the communication skills necessary to create respect, empathy, compassion, and an authentic sense of truly caring about the people we are privileged to treat,” he added.

About Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
In 2011, the National Navy Medical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical Center merged to form the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Today, WRNMMC’s nearly 7,000 team members serve military families and the nation’s active duty, returning war heroes, veterans and the nation’s leaders.

WRNMMC is committed to: operational readiness; outstanding customer service; excellent graduate medical and dental education and research; and the consistent delivery of world-class health care within an integrated system.