What Is Effective Communication in Healthcare?
When it comes to healthcare, effective communication is concerned with how complex and technical information is expressed in a way that’s easy for everyone to understand. That’s why, for communication in healthcare to be truly effective, the messages need to be simple, clear, timely, and discreet.
Healthcare communication needs to work for both medical professionals and patients. On a medical-professional-to-medical-professional level, communication is needed to make an accurate diagnoses and ensure the most appropriate treatment is administered. And on a medical-professional-to-patient level, clear communication is vital for patients to fully understand their health diagnosis, treatment, and medical needs.
Why Does Communication Matter in Healthcare?
Internal communication within the healthcare industry can impact how employees communicate with each other, and how well they receive information. When an effective strategy is in place, it can shape an organization’s entire culture and create many positive benefits, such as:
Effective internal communication within an organization ensures every individual it employs is much more likely to understand their role and responsibilities. This helps to increase employee engagement and productivity and leads to much improved job satisfaction amongst workers.
It creates a culture of teamwork and collaboration where everyone is working to help the organization achieve its ultimate goals. And if everyone is working as a team, rather than a group of individuals, employees will make decisions together as opposed to making them individually, which can lead to irreversible and costly mistakes. After all, 85% of workplace errors are a result of poor communication.
Improved patient satisfaction and care
When patients go to any healthcare facility, it’s not always a case of meeting with one medical professional, receiving a diagnosis, then returning home. Any visit to a hospital – depending on the facility and the nature of each case – can require a patient to speak to multiple employees, from doctors and physicians to nurses and technicians.
This alone highlights just how essential patient-centered communication is to patient satisfaction. When you have an effective communications plan in place, it helps staff to fully understand the treatment needed for each patient and allows for one employee to seamlessly pick up where their colleague left off. Ultimately, when you improve the patient experience you improve patient satisfaction.
Improved compliance with changes
In the healthcare industry, changes are commonplace – especially when it comes to industry regulations. As a result, healthcare organizations are continuously updating and reviewing their policies to account for the industry change. This could be an alteration to an internal process, or a new safety regulation they need to adhere to.
The right communication in any healthcare environment means it can easily adapt when new changes are introduced, with staff being able to respond quickly and consistently to any new policies whenever they need to.
Better Communication Skills Leads to Improved Morale
When an organization places more emphasis on its communication skills, workers feel more connected to the business they work for, and their colleagues. And when they feel more connected, it leads to a significant improvement in staff morale and employee engagement.
High employee engagement in itself benefits the organization in several ways, like fewer sick days amongst staff, a workforce that’s more on board with policy and company-wide change, and employees that are much less likely to look for work elsewhere.
How Technology Can Improve Communication
Healthcare organizations with an effective communications strategy, supported by high-quality communication tools, benefit from:
- Smoother handovers between team members
- Clearer workflows
- Easily accessible staff rotas
Three Essential Components of Communication in Healthcare
HIPAA-compliant texting and visible staff availability
When it comes to managing and running a successful healthcare organization, there is no way to ignore the stringent requirements of HIPAA. It requires all sensitive patient information – from names and birthdates to health conditions and treatments – to be completely confidential.
For any healthcare provider to safely store all this confidential information, it must have the right tools put in place. This is even more important when you consider that HIPAA also requires limited data storage and restricts transmission to just a handful of standardized formats. One way around these very strict policies is a HIPAA-compliant texting app.
A compliant messaging app allows for important information, such as private files and confidential instructions, to be shared safely – with no threat of it leaking into the wrong hands.
Another huge benefit of communication tools like messaging apps is that they unlock two-way communication in your organization. While pagers are a convenient way to receive messages, they don’t allow the recipient to respond. Messaging apps, however, free employees up to engage in a back-and-forth conversation.
Healthcare professionals can also use their own devices to communicate. The integration of a leading messaging app with a worker’s preferred method of communication, like their personal phone, means they can use it to securely send messages and files, use the company contact list, access patient information, and manage their schedule and workload, without having to use multiple – or outdated – devices.
Automated scheduling and alerts
In an industry that relies on its staff being available 24/7, automated on-call scheduling systems are a must. The tools allow for the right people to be contacted – and only when they’re on call – which not only ensures that there is adequate cover at any time of day and night, but workers that are contacted incorrectly when they’re not on call, so are less likely to suffer from work burnout.
The implementation of scheduling tools in healthcare makes it easy for managers and staff to determine who is on call at any given time and helps to evenly distribute on-call responsibility. With scheduling tools, there’s a much less chance for staff to miss alerts and shifts as staff can choose to be contacted through their preferred channel.
Automatic schedulers benefit patients, too. It enables them – or the member of staff that is dealing with them at any moment of the day – to reach out to a specific role within the organization. For example, if they need a doctor, they can select a doctor on the app and contact the one on call. It means patients don’t get passed from team to team – which wastes your time as much as theirs – and a solution to the problem can be reached much quicker.
In healthcare, it’s vital that organizations can mass communicate to quickly and efficiently distribute information to a wide audience.
There are two main reasons a healthcare organization would need a mass notification system:
To send immediate notifications – this allows for managers and leaders to send out important messages, such as a shift change or medical emergency, to a large team through email, text, or phone call.
Track where your patients are – mass notification systems that are combined with RFID allow users to track patients. So if you treat patients that tend to walk off, this feature is vital.
The same feature can be used to track equipment, too. Whether you work in a hospital where items tend to get stolen or go missing, you can track exactly where they are. Or it might be that you work in a very large hospital and need to know where a particular piece of equipment is located. In both circumstances, a mass notification system leads to a convenient, time-saving outcome.
How Messagenius can help your healthcare organization communicate securely and work more effectively
Instant Healthcare Messaging
Messagenius’ messaging app allows healthcare professionals to communicate immediately with each other. You can instantly send files, patient information, and messages, or use it to communicate with hospitalized patients.
Ensure Privacy and Compliance
Healthcare organizations can be sure all staff and patient information that passes through Messagenius’ messaging apps stays with the hospital – it’s completely owned by you. For further protection, it uses encryption and is completely GDPR-compliant – making it entirely private and fully secure.
Contact the Right People
Messagenius’ smart contact list means patients and staff can contact medical professionals by searching their job role, department, shift, location, and more.
Instantly Notify Staff
The Messagenius messaging app allows for you to set predetermined emergency signals and create a dedicated incident room dependent on the situation. When an incident room is initiated, a group chat is created with all the relevant people, all of whom are alerted immediately. It’s ideal for rapid response patient care.
What are some types of communication in healthcare?
There are several types of communication in healthcare, such as:
- Nurse-to-physician communication
- Leadership-team-to-care-team communication
- Patient-centered communication
- Internal communication
What is good communication in healthcare?
Effective communication in healthcare is concerned with any methods of relaying information, whether that’s the communication from a medical professional to a medical professional, or professional to a patient.
How can communication between healthcare workers be improved?
- Assess and streamline your current communications
- Improve the tools your teams use to communicate
- Encourage two-way communication
How does location sharing fit into a communication strategy?
When you know where your staff are, and who is on shift, it allows you to communicate with the right people at the right time. You’re not wasting time speaking to people that are unavailable or located in an area of the hospital too far away.
How can patients benefit from a messaging app?
A communication tool such as messaging apps allows patients to communicate with their doctor much more conveniently. They can use it to share all their confidential information in a completely secure way. They can also use messaging apps to schedule appointments with their doctors.