Communication is one of the most important procedures that anyone in healthcare can do. Effective communication is essential to deliver superior patient care and build solid patient-physician relationships based on a shared respect and compassion.
Other benefits of clear and timely communication include:
- A decrease in risk exposure
- Improved patient outcomes
- Maximizing performance
- Improves patient safety
- Improves patient satisfaction
- Unifies the entire team
- Helps you provide accurate and safe care for your patients
Breakdown in communication can occur anywhere in the care continuum. It is critical that healthcare leaders and team members continually work on polishing their communication skills to ensure continued success. You will need to speak and interact with patients and their families on a daily basis and report statuses to co-workers and supervisors.
If you want to work better with your patients and team to ensure a positive patient experience and stand out from competing practices, look no further.
Here are 3 steps on how to improve communication skills for healthcare professionals.
Communicate every single step of the way. Updating the patient and their families about what is happening in the patient’s care can be extremely helpful. It’s easy to take each change throughout the day for granted since it is part of your job and it can become routine. Remember that everything is new to the patient and they are left in the dark unless things are explained to them. Carefully explain what you are doing as you do it. For example, if you need to transfer the patient to a new room or different floor, explain why and how long it will take.
Use the teach-back method. Use the teach-back method during the discharge planning process to make sure patients and their family members understand the follow-up care instructions. There are many times communication can get lost in translation. Make sure your patient understands what you are saying by asking them to repeat instructions back to you.
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Use a calm voice. It’s not just what you say but how you say it that can improve communication. The tone of your voice can portray a sense of care towards others so be sure to keep your tone gentle. When your tone is gentle and kind, it will help to put your patients at ease and make them feel safe.
If you wondering how to improve communication skills in the healthcare field, use these helpful tips. They will help to build and maintain strong relationships between both patients and healthcare professionals and their associates.
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Dr. Gregory Sanders is a Harvard-trained, practicing cardiologist and founder and CEO of HybridChart. He has been coding since the 1980s and has spent his medical career focusing on improving processes. His patient care skills earned him recognition as one of Phoenix Magazine’s TOP DOCs. He lives in Scottsdale with his family.