Effective communication with patients impacts clinical outcome and patient satisfaction. We measure the rate at which medical professionals use to target communication elements with patients and association of element use with patient satisfaction.
Poor communication among care team members and with patients, family members, and post-acute care facilities discharge can result in confusion around follow-up care and medications potentially leading to unnecessary readmissions (for example, re-exposing in radiology department) and preventable malpractice litigation.
In one study using six years of data from nearly 3,000 acute care hospitals, researchers determined that communication between caregivers and patients has the largest impact on reducing readmissions. Specifically, the results indicate that a health care organization would, on average, reduce its readmission rate by 5% if it were to prioritize patient communication in addition to complying with evidence-based standards of care.
Communication is the key of the development of an organization. It makes patients feel valued, cared for, and creates better working environment. It can be learned and improved. Effective communication skills are fundamental to success; by mastering the art of communication, we increase each level of performance in our life. If we communicate, we can manage, but if we communicate skillfully, we can do miracles in our family relationships, in business and in friendships.
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Medical Institutions stated that poor communication is the biggest cause of medication errors, treatment delays, and surgical errors, and the second most common root cause of surgical and postoperative events and fatal falls. 44,000 to 98,000 people are killed each year in the United States due to medical errors.
Interpersonal communication refers to the process of information exchange between people in social interactions. This information is extensive and includes aspects such as thoughts, values and feelings. If the exchange of information can be understood and accepted by the communication between the two parties, such communication is effective.
To become a successful communicator requires developing skills in listening, observing, speaking, and writing.
MODES OF COMMUNICATION
Communication can be categorized as verbal. A healthcare professional should be aware of the vocabulary using with a patient, it should be clear with an appropriate language. Humor helps relax and open up conversations but must avoid sex, diseases, age, and cultural slurs.
Another type of communication is the nonverbal communication, it could be by a gesture, posture, visual contact, oral, facial expression or/and body language.
Since battery is the most common tort in the healthcare field, a healthcare professional should be very careful about how to touch a patient either for positioning purposes or for emotional support.
For example; geriatric patients should be treated with more compassion and empathy, using clear language, and dedicate more time to listen to them and explain them what they are going to experience. While for pediatric patients, the health care professional should be at their eye level, so they feel more comfortable and secured.
According to Dr. Albert Mehrabian’s 7-38-55% Rule “Elements of personal communication: 7% spoken words- 38% voice/tone - 55% body language”.
LANGUAGE, CULTURE, AND ETHIC DIVERSITY
Language, culture and ethnic diversity are always intertwined as having a clear understanding and finding value for cultural diversity is the key factor to ending racism.
A particular language from a particular group of people is what points out to their culture and ethnic diversity. Interacting in a language that is understood by all always mean that one has a full understanding of the culture and ethnic diversity surrounding them. Culture is a consequence of human interaction through the art of communication in which their ethnic diversity is manifested. To interact with each other language that is understood by all is a requirement though some terms and phrases used in communication sometimes appear to be offensive and insensitive.
Culture is said to be a product of the human mind which is defined as propaganda and sustained through language. The relationship between language and culture is also symbolic as language is the encoding factor of the values and norms shaping the culture of a given society. Language also changes our culture and the meaning of our traditions which include our habits. The changes in our cultures are as a result of the interactions and communication with different people from different cultures and ethnic diversity. Our way of talking is also influenced with language as our perspective of the tones used always depends on a particular language (Koppelman, K. L., 2017).
Another important factor in health care is that the professional should treat all the patients equally, no matter what are their race, color, age or origin. Nondiscrimination will assist some of the most vulnerable groups and will help them gain equal access to health care and health insurance.
Lastly, our perspective about a certain event depends on the language used to determine whether it has taken place or yet to take place.
PATIENT CARE AND SAFETY
By educating patients and giving them clear and specific instructions, health care providers and facilities can reduce medical errors and increase patient loyalty and satisfaction, which indirectly influences the operational bottom line.
One of the most important things, that communication has a big role in it, is patients transferring and moving. By explaining the procedure to the patient and approximately how long it will take to complete the exam, health care providers reduce chances of medical errors of exams. It also reduces the chances of injury to the patients and themselves, by knowing how to use the right body mechanism.
Communication in the healthcare organizations is very important. A health care provider is the source of sending the message to the patient, by using clear, simple language at all times. Each patient procedure requires a different application of skills, thus, using a critical thinking and being able to complete each assessment in a timely manner, while meeting the unique needs of each patient, is the criterion for an excellent health care provider, with quality and high level of value to be good enough to serve its purpose (Dutton, Andrea, 2019).
On the other hand, if the patient, as a receiver of this message, justifies or establishes as true, he/she validates and confirms it. Once a feedback is received, it indicates that the message was delivered and was perceived correctly or incorrectly.