Monday, February 13, 2012

Patient Safety - Lack of Communication

A few days back on MedPage I read an interesting article on patient safety. What caught my attention was that it was related to communication between the patient and the doctor.  Although Medpage is open to virtually anyone, my guess is that the population most likely to refer to it would be the medical community, so who would the target audience be?  The medical community?  Yes, exactly. I think it will be an enriching experience for the already well-educated doctor to partake in commo lessons designed to help them relate to the patient, who in many cases, may not be educated.  While working on my master's degree, I took several communications classes and when you don't have a good connection between the sender and the receiver, a breakdown will occur in the transmission of information. 

As a patient, if you don't understand what your doctor, or nurse, is explaining to you, you have an obligation to YOURSELF, to ask them to slow down and explain it in terms that you can understand.  Most will be happy to do so. What I have found is that they are just speaking in a lingo they've become accustomed to and not trying to deter you on purpose. If you are one of the other kind of patients I have seen that does not want to know, then please, at least let a family member, or close friend, be at the appointments with you, to help make sense of the chaos.  In the long run, at least their presence by your side will be comforting.  

Here is Medpage's article as it was printed:

Conversations in Movement Disorders: Communication and Patient Safety

Discover how effective dialogue and feedback between patient and physician can help you achieve optimal patient outcomes.  Communication errors were the underlying cause of 65% of unexpected negative patient outcomes between 1995 and 2004, according to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations. Learn how to improve your communication and patient safety with this new activity, Conversations in Movement Disorders: Communication and Patient Safety.  This ground breaking, media-rich learning experience addressing how physician-patient communication impacts patient safety and offers methods for improving interpersonal communication. Learners will be asked to identify their personal communication style and then observe reenactments of actual clinical situations and patient interviews; Hear about physiatrists’ own experiences regarding the impacts of communication breakdowns as well as examples of successful efforts; and learn to identify the traits of four distinct communication styles and how to adjust to them in real-time situations resulting in an increase in understanding between patients, physicians and other medical professionals, enhance the flow of information and ultimately, improve patient outcomes.

If you are not a regular follower of the page, I have found it quite useful and also good reading.

Today, on 13th day of February 2012, I hope that you are having a beautiful, healthy as can be, day and know that you are exactly where God wants you to be today and always.  Have a wonderful Valentine's day everyone.  Hugs~

1 comment:

  1. Indeed, communication between patients and doctors are important to avoid medical negligence. Kudos to you for promoting such awareness.