Communication skills are essential to all staff members, especially those working in the healthcare industry. One of the most critical patient care factors is communication between doctors and patients. Doctors are trained to diagnose patients. However, some may not fully understand the psychological aspects of their patients’ illnesses. On the other side, patients should explain their symptoms and tell doctors everything relevant. Both parties should ask and answer questions and communicate appropriately for the situation.
With accurate and effective communication between the patients and doctors, people involved can eliminate the dangers of misdiagnosis and mistreatment because of poor communication. Here are the top ten best practices to follow to ensure that communication between patients and doctors is as effective as possible.
Always Use A Professional Tone When Communicating With Patients And Their Families
When communicating with patients and their families, always use a professional tone. This means using polite language, asking questions instead of making statements, and avoiding sarcasm. When doctors use a professional tone with their patients, this leads to better patient satisfaction, higher patient retention rates, and a more friendly doctor-patient relationship.
Make Sure All Written Communication Is Clear, Concise, And Easy To Understand
Miscommunication is often the result of unplanned written messages for many businesses, which cost time and money. Healthcare is no exception.
Written communication is sometimes overlooked in healthcare, but it’s just as important as verbal communication. Written communication can be even more critical because it allows doctors to convey complex information without a long and tiresome explanation.
One of the most important things to keep in mind with written communication is to make sure it’s clear, concise, and easy to understand. If written communication is long-winded or filled with complicated medical terminologies, then the message will be lost to patients. When this happens, it may lead to misunderstandings, inaccuracies, and loss of important information.
Furthermore, errors in written communication can completely alter the meaning of a sentence and create misconceptions. For this reason, doctors should always strive to make sure that their written communication is professional and free of grammatical errors.
Avoid Using Too Much Medical Jargon Or Acronyms That Could Confuse Patients
When doctors speak with other medical professionals, they may use acronyms to save time. However, many of these acronyms are unfamiliar to patients, leading to confusion if not properly explained. To avoid confusion and ensure that patients understand what healthcare professionals are saying, it’s important for healthcare providers to use a language that patients can understand. This means avoiding using too much medical jargon or acronyms to confuse patients.
For example, a doctor should never use “CHF” when explaining a patient’s condition to their family. Instead, they should use terms like ‘heart attack’ or ‘heart failure’ that are more familiar to patients.
Always Give Patients Enough Time To Ask Questions And Participate In The Conversation
Healthcare professionals should constantly allow their patients to ask questions and offer their inputs during conversations. It can be difficult for doctors to understand their patients’ conditions without hearing their thoughts and concerns. Allowing patients to ask questions and participate in discussions provides for a two-way communication flow.
In addition, doctors should always take the time to listen to their patients. This means allowing them to complete their sentences and not interrupting them. Patients may often feel rushed during a doctor’s appointment, making it difficult to gather their thoughts and communicate effectively. That’s why doctors need to take their time and give each patient as much time as they need to speak. Giving patients enough time to ask questions and participate in the conversation is essential for effective communication.
Avoid Making Assumptions About Patients’ Knowledge Or Understanding
When communicating with patients, it’s important not to make assumptions about their knowledge or understanding in a particular matter. This is especially important when explaining medical procedures or treatments because patients often have different levels of understanding about these subjects.
For example, a doctor may assume that a patient knows the difference between a biopsy and a CT scan. However, this could lead to potential misunderstandings about the procedure and hinder the doctor-patient relationship. It could also lead to them downplaying or not seeking treatment for a serious medical issue.
Always Provide Patients And Their Families With A Way To Contact You If They Have Further Questions Or Concerns
One of the most important things that doctors can do to improve communication is to provide patients and their families with a way to contact them if they have further questions or concerns. When patients feel that they can’t reach out to you, it can lead to a loss of trust and a communication breakdown.
Understand The Different Ways People Can Receive Information–Visual Or Auditory
Medical professionals can improve communication with patients by understanding how people receive information. For example, some people can better understand the information presented visually, while others prefer to hear information explained to them. Asking patients how to receive information can help healthcare professionals better communicate with them.
Be Aware Of Your Body Language And Tone Of Voice
Healthcare professionals need to be mindful of their body language when communicating with patients. For example, if you’re speaking with a patient in a condescending tone or while crossing your arms, they’ll likely feel belittled or unimportant.
In the same vein, if you’re not making eye contact or not speaking clearly, patients won’t feel heard and will lose interest in what you’re saying. Healthcare professionals need to use positive body language to convey their message effectively.
Practice HIPAA Compliance At All Times
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is a set of federal laws that protect patients’ health information privacy. Healthcare professionals must abide by HIPAA regulations when communicating with patients. This means that they must keep all patient information confidential, and only share it with those who need to know and are authorized to access it.
Use Technology To Improve Communication
One way healthcare professionals can improve communication with their patients is by using patient portal technology. A patient portal is an online system that allows patients to view their medical records and communicate with healthcare providers.
Patient portals provide a secure and convenient way for patients to access their health information. They can also use patient portals to ask questions, schedule appointments, and pay bills online.
Healthcare professionals can improve communication with their patients by using a professional tone and positive body language when speaking, understanding how people receive information, and abiding by HIPAA regulations. Additionally, they can use technology to improve communication by utilizing patient portals. By following these tips, healthcare professionals can create an effective line of communication with their patients.
I am Tristan who loves to ride and spend time with my jenny (horse) and my love Mark. After completing my graduation, I have been working as an accountant in a private firm in Cologne.