23 Mar Excellent Communication Leads to Excellent Care
Communication is the glue in any relationship.
Excellent patient experience is associated with improved clinical outcomes and safety.
Effective communication is the first step on the road to excellence.
Communication is the glue in any relationship. Relationship-centered healthcare is essential for excellent service, unfailing safety and exceptional outcomes.
Medical care has become increasingly complex. It is not uncommon for any one patient to be cared for by seven or more doctors during any episode of care, whether outpatient or inpatient. Medical care is also becoming increasingly team-based. Meaningful, accurate, compassionate, and respectful communication between team members is crucial—if effective communication is missing, safety and outcomes suffer.
In a recent interview published on Telegram.com, the site of the Worcester (Massachusetts) Telegram & Gazette, Dr. Robert M. Quinlan cites physician communication as the first improvement he will target as the new Patient Experience Officer at UMass Memorial Health Care. “It became increasingly obvious that physician communication was a potential problem area given the increase in complexity of medical care, as more specialized consultations meant more physicians and more possibilities for miscommunication,” he said, adding that one of his priorities in the coming year will be to measure communication and come up with ways to improve communication with patients.
Physicians and healthcare personnel are constantly pressed for time. Attention to detail, mindfulness to the task at hand and efficiency all hinge on key communication skills. If healthcare personnel learn to truly listen, pay attention, gather and prioritize accurate data, and connect with the patient, the patient’s experience can only improve. This leads to more accurate diagnoses, efficiency and improved patient and physician satisfaction.
Healthcare institutions striving for a culture of excellence have an opportunity to reach this goal by training physicians and allied health professionals in key communication skills. The Institute for Healthcare Excellence provides training by experienced physician faculty in communication skills, including listening, mindfulness, gathering and prioritizing accurate information, building relationships and moving teams to excellence.