How to Solve the Biggest Healthcare Communication Problems

Healthcare professionals are driven by the urgent, daunting task of saving lives, and they’re constantly looking to increase their productivity without diluting the quality of patient care. To accomplish this, many of them focus on improving communication between themselves, their care teams, and patients.  Considering that two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, a HIPAA-compliant mobile messaging app makes it easier for care teams to communicate and improve patient outcomes while maintaining high standards of care.

Read more about how to solve the biggest healthcare communication problems

Focus on long term gains

When looking to increase productivity, healthcare leaders and decision-makers tend to focus on short-term financial gains. However, short-term gains derived from rash and quick decisions to solve a big problem can result in communication breakdowns that produce higher overall healthcare costs, such as inaccurate diagnoses that prompt unnecessary tests and services.

In contrast, the long-term gains of higher-quality patient care and increased productivity thanks to more effective communication can help boost any hospital’s financial efficiency, especially when considering short-term gains have more risks.

Why is the focus on high productivity, rather than high-quality healthcare? And can we solve these problems without spending a fortune? Long-term gains have ongoing goals that lead to an increasingly better endgame. They have to be broken down into easy steps that can reasonably function within the hospital. Highly productive physicians and nurses can see the most patients and do the most chargeable procedures/test in the least amount of time.

Now, think about the value in that when it comes to high-quality healthcare; If you can keep your physicians and nurses who are highly productive, while also increasing their high quality outcomes with patients, then investing into a long term gain is worth it.

Effective communication is an essential part of building and maintaining good physician-patient and nurse-patient relationships. It helps each person understand and learn from each other, consider alternate perspectives, and meet each other’s needs. Incorporate strategies on how to create clear and concise messages with your healthcare communication.

Empathetic Listening:

Pay attention to another person with empathy [emotional identification, compassion, feeling, insight]. Or put simply, “seek to understand, before being understood.”

Ask clarifying questions:

Ask questions to confirm information or paraphrase.

  • Are you saying that….
  • Are you claiming….
  • Do you mean ….

Validate the message:

Validation is the recognition and acceptance of another person’s thoughts, feelings, sensations, and behaviors as understandable.

Read and repeat-backs:

Simply providing opportunities for care providers to ask and resolve questions can improve the effectiveness of hand-over communications.

Two-way communication:

Effective communication strategies involve two-way communication, or conversations, between members of the organization. Fostering a two-way, inclusive dialogue with patients and healthcare providers is key to success.

 

Make communication channels clear and uncomplicated

Communication breakdowns begin with busy-ness and the stress that comes with working to make people healthy. Human error can result in forgetting to pass along information during a shift-change between nurses. Handoffs have been recognized as a major healthcare challenge, primarily due to the communication breakdowns that occur during that transition in care. Nearly two-thirds of American adults own a smartphone in 2015, according to PEW research. It would seem normal to use text messaging as a clear and convenient channel of communication, but this is a clear HIPAA violation. Sending a text with patient information that is unencrypted is illegal.


So how do we fix that?

Enable quick and informed action to address health risks and public health emergencies. HIPAA-compliant software, like Scribblit, makes communication easier for healthcare providers. Scribblit is a mobile app that capitalizes on the BYOD trend, making it convenient and comfortable for healthcare providers to use their own phone to communicate effectively and securely when sending patient information.

With easy integration, Scribblit operates through a healthcare provider’s existing technical infrastructure. It also continues to work outside of the hospital while staying HIPAA-compliant, making handoffs easier by offering a clear, open channel of communication.

Interested in learning more about how you can solve your biggest healthcare communication problems? Email us at info@interapt.com

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