Why Should We Have Better Communication?

Premier Pulse     November 2020

Kanagy_HS_350x350By Scott Kanagy, DO, MBA, chief medical officer, Upper Valley Medical Center

Imagine you or a loved one is in the hospital not feeling well, scared, and looking for those who care for you to provide confidence that you are getting the best care. In comes a physician who examines you, reviews your results, and explains the next steps in your treatment process. You are feeling better about your treatment plan when another provider or nurse comes in to see you. You share with them the others provider’s thoughts and plans. Then, the patient hears, “I had no idea that was the plan.” Your confidence in the care you are receiving rapidly deteriorates and fear sets in. You start to ask yourself if those who are caring for you are talking to each other. Do they know what they are doing? Are you safe and getting the best care? These are legitimate questions. This may instill in patients fear and lack of confidence in our ability to care for them as health care providers.

Now, imagine a provider who takes time to send a secure chat to another provider or nurse letting them know their plan for the patient’s care plan. Imagine a provider who takes the time to read other providers’ or nurses’ notes prior to going into a patient’s room.

I realize we are all very busy and have many conflicting responsibilities in our daily routines. Imagine the anxiety we could reduce and the improvement in patient experience we could achieve by taking a few extra minutes out of our day to collaborate and communicate with the entire treatment team.

We all need to take the time to be more aware of how we can better communicate with each other every day. This will bring about a safer environment, better care and outcomes for patients, and improved patient experience. We owe this to those who have placed their lives in our trust.

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