Personal and Professional Health Care Communication
November 3, 2012
Personal and Professional Health Care Communication
According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in the United States, “Health communication is the study and use of communication strategies to inform and influence individual and community decisions that affect health. It links the fields of communication and health and is increasingly recognized as a necessary element of efforts to improve personal and public health”. The World Health Organization in 1999 stated that it is a “public responsibility that citizens receive extensive, accurate, and timely information on health and health care through various communication channel.” In this paper, an examination of the importance of effective, and therapeutic communication will be discussed and the sequel of ineffective communication.
Patient care almost always involves several individuals starting from their physicians, to their nurse and many other disciplines involved with their care, all-needing to share patient information amongst each other. Communication failures are a large contributor to adverse clinical events and outcomes. From the administrative point of view, poor communication can have significant economic repercussions.
Several various factors depend on high quality health care services such as staff knowledge, and staff attitudes, as well as their perception of the information received. Lets take a look at staff attitudes. In order to be productive nursing professional, it is not enough to have a healthy relationship with your client but to also have a healthy working environment amongst other professionals. Having conflicts within the work places adds great tension between working colleagues, which then can inadvertently have a negative effect on patient care. Tension within the work place can hinder any productive collaboration and lead to poor communications to one another, again potentially jeopardizing patient outcomes. It is important that rules of conduct are followed and clear expectations of behaviors being made. A society of collegiality is fundamental for a health work environment that is to deliver high quality of patient care.
Studies have been conducted and have pinpointed miscommunication as a major causative factor in sentinel events, that is, errors resulting in a serious injury or unnecessary death (Leonard & Bonacum, 2008). Studies have shown that miscommunication during “handoff” occur when one nurse reports to another nurse transferring responsibility to him/her. Thus, having a negative effect on patient outcome. Looking at it globally, it not only increases the patient’s length of stay, but an increased cost of hospitalization. Besides risks to client safety, poor communication is also related to patient dissatisfaction and places hospitals at risks for malpractice lawsuits.
In light of the increasing errors made from poor communications, initiatives have been developed. There is a collaborative agreement made that requires improving communication. Best nurse-physician collaborative communication has empirically been associated with lower risk for negative client outcomes and greater satisfaction. Research studies support this concept (DeVoe, Wallace, Pandhi, Solotaroff, & Fryer, 2008; Elder Brungs, Nagy, Kudel, & Render, 2008). Because of this need for greater communication it has caused the push for standardization of health care practices. “Standardization is among the best methods to improve quality and reduce cost of care…even if the standard is as simple as a checklist” (Mathews & Pronovost, 2008, p. 2914). According to Amato-Vealey, Barba, & Vealey, safe communication regarding client issues needs to be clear-cut, timely, accurate, complete, open, and understood by the receiver in order to reduce errors (2008). So with the increased importance of...
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Amato-Vealey, E., Barba, M., & Vealey, R. (2008). Hand-off communication: a requisite for perioperative patient safety. AORN J, 88(5), 763-770.
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DeVoe, J. E., Wallace, L. S., & Pandhi, N. (2008). Comprehending care in a medical home: a usual source of care and patient perceptions about health communication. Journal of American Board of Family Medicine, 21(5), 441-445.
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Mathews, S., & Pronovost, P. (2008). Physician’s autonomy and informed decision making. JAMA, 300(24), 2913-2915.
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