Communication is one of the most important aspects of healthcare. When doctors, patients and staff members do not communicate effectively, there can be major consequences. These communication errors could be in the form of scheduling, inaccurate medical history or treatment instructions. Miscommunication can have consequences as small as a patient being late or as large as a patient not taking doctor advice for follow-up or care. Improving healthcare communication is beneficial for staff and patients. Communicating efficiently saves time for staff and makes patients feel secure. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to help you and other staff communicate better with patients. Some of these include: training, apps and asking for patient feedback.
Continue reading to find out more about how you can improve communication in your medical center.
Train Medical Staff for Patient Communication
Staff cannot effectively communicate if they have not been trained. Medical administrators should empower staff through regularly scheduled training sessions. Here are some important pieces of communication advice and examples to provide to your staff:
- Teach staff how to clarify information. Staff can do this by repeating the information, such as a phone number, back to the patient for approval. Staff could also say “Did you say…” or “Could you repeat that for me.”
- For some patients, coming to the doctor is extremely personal. Others feel that doctors minimize their symptoms as if they are not a big deal. This is why it is so important that you teach your staff to validate their patients feelings. Take a look at this study to view some examples of the different levels of validation.
- Listening is something that you may feel comes naturally. In actuality, it takes a high level of effort to effectively listen. Patients want to feel that their doctor is actively listening to them. Teach your staff to make eye contact and nod their heads when a patient is speaking to them.
- Teach staff to view communication with their patients as an active discussion, rather than as one-sided information.
Effective communication in healthcare is about listening to patients and engaging in a discussion with them about their health. When staff are properly trained in patient healthcare communication, patients will leave their appointment feeling heard and cared for.
Doctor Office: Culture and Relationships
It is vital to eliminate communication barriers. Patients will lose trust if things like fee structure aren’t spelled out in black and white. When administrators break down the price of a visit, patients will understand their fee.
In some cases, trust can be built by offering viable, differently priced treatment alternatives to patients. While most patients will pursue a recommended path of treatment, providing options is empowering and generates goodwill.
It is vital to create a communicative culture within your office. This will take time but all medical staff can become better listeners and communicators. Practicing and growing in these skills will result in a net positive.
Create a communication platform through personalized messaging. App-based systems can be activated to convey messages to patients. In almost all systems like these, you can insert customized fields. This will make sure that the automated, templated messages have a personal touch. That’s one simple way of many that you can improve communication and the patient-doctor relationship.
Patient feedback is necessary. Consumers are conditioned to vet any kind of provider, from a roofer to a doctor. Chances are, prospective and even current patients will go online to either learn more or air grievances. Intercept that feedback by inviting it directly.
With feedback systems, patients can give immediate insight into how they felt about an appointment. Through doctor-provided apps and websites, patients describe what went well and what could be better. DocClocker is an example of a feedback app. This patient provider communication tool allows patients to review their doctors.These reviews can be seen by doctors and other patients. Doctors can also create profiles so that other patients can locate them based on different criteria. Check out DocClocker’s reviewing platform here.
Use Healthcare Apps for Patient Communication
Medical staff use time-saving apps that also enhance doctor-patient communication. This encourages internal and ongoing discussions about a patient's health. Administrators can leverage this feedback to improve operations.
There are many different apps that optimize the communication process. It can be difficult to find the one that works for your practice and contains all the features that you need. DocClocker is an app that offers many ways to streamline patient communication. These include:
- Doctor locating and connection services
- Patient feedback tools
- Personalized automated messaging
- Notes section that tells you what your patient wants to talk about
- Online appointment booking
- Remote check-in and wait times
- Updates from the operating room to loved ones phones
To find out more about DocClocker go here.