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Healthcare Communication – Leveraging Technology to Achieve Common Goals

 

Effective communication between physicians and other health care professionals is crucial for speedy and efficient medical operations. In a contemporary healthcare setting, integrated communication technologies are imperative for linking health care professionals with various other health care entities and medical staff, ensuring the best, safest, and prompt medical care for patients. Communicating within a medical environment is no easy task. Communication can be difficult even for professionals trained in their given roles. The importance of effective communication, especially in a clinical environment, cannot be understated.

Physicians, nurses, and other health professionals form the bulk of the healthcare team. These individuals, often speaking different languages, possess varying perceptions of how to behave and what information to offer to patients in various situations. Achieving successful health communication requires professionals to understand and overcome cultural differences and professional and personal challenges when communicating with patients. Communicating in healthcare settings calls for professionals to practice a wide range of techniques and interpersonal skills. This means that some forms of communication in healthcare settings need to take more traditional interprofessional strategies, and some have to take the form of more innovative medical techniques.

Although all healthcare settings experience different communication methods, some communication methods seem to work better than others. It’s been found that most communication methods used within healthcare settings involve the use of two or more mediums. Many communication methods used in healthcare settings rely on face-to-face communication, either through direct contact or through established lines of communication such as office phone systems. Face-to-face communication methods help reduce communication barriers, while office phone systems allow for easy transfer of information in real-time.

In addition to face-to-face communication strategies, healthcare professionals also utilize written forms of communication. Direct written communication is one of the oldest forms of healthcare communication strategies. Written communications often provide a text explanation of the topic at hand and the extent of a particular better patient experience. Health care providers can also utilize well-written newsletters, case management plans, and technical bulletins to communicate information to specific audiences. Some newsletters focus on general health issues, while others aim toward addressing specific topics and concerns that pertain to a particular health issue.

Cartoon Doctor Patient Communication

On-call scheduling is also another form of onsite communication in healthcare organizations. Often, healthcare professionals and staff have extenuated health issues that prevent them from reporting to the entire staff during scheduled breaks. Healthcare organizations can benefit from having designated on-call scheduling time. By allowing healthcare professionals to schedule a time during regular business hours for on-call scheduling, the organization can better manage staffing levels and avoid missing any necessary time for crucial staff interactions and communications.

Communication in healthcare settings also takes the form of cross-communication initiatives. These collaborations are most often made within university schools. The idea behind a university-school partnership can be to enhance communication within the organization through a series of onsite visits, one-on-one discussions, and teleconferences. In many instances, an association between two or more universities results from a collaboration involving the departments of two or more health care entities. A common area of interest will come up, and the two health entities might then take joint steps to achieve some long-term health communication goals. This is most common with interdisciplinary studies, such as when an interdisciplinary team investigates a common problem related to a common cause.

Another example of a cross-communication initiative occurs when two entities from different locations share a real-world example of a problem or opportunity. In these situations, the two entities can leverage their resources to work together to solve the problem. This is also known as risk communication in healthcare communication, and it works in a variety of ways. For instance, a university may leverage its engaging faculty, research, and student forums to create a set of dialogue topics, solicit ideas, suggest solutions and draw students into the forum.

Finally, technology can make communications between health care professionals easier. In healthcare, many communications are done electronically, including electronic patient records (EPR), medical billing, and patient education software. Some of these communications can occur in person, and some can occur over the phone or through written correspondence. A health care professional can leverage technologies to make communications between them and other health professionals more accessible, faster, and less costly. Technology can also help healthcare professionals communicate about quality control measures, quality metrics, and trends in practice that can help them make better-quality decisions.