Interaction with the front desk Staff normally forms the patient’s first impression of a hospital. Lack of communication is also frequently the origin of a vast majority of incidents which take place in a hospital. In the modern customer focused health scenario, communication plays a gigantic part in a hospital. Sadly, it is also among the most common and overlooked problem areas in the vast majority of the hospitals. Communication can be a very powerful tool for improving patient satisfaction at a hospital. Hospital feedback forms often reflect issues where improper or insufficient communication is the main cause. Long discharge time is a frequent cause for patient dissatisfaction in the majority of the hospitals, however, a significant cause for disconcert might be that the patient/patient comparative were not clarified at the beginning about the discharge process and the time required for this and thus expects a discharge the moment the doctor orders it.
Similarly, if patients are advised beforehand of their expected time delay and reasons for delay in an OPD, they are less inclined to complain about the waiting period and the services in the hospital. Patient Safety is another area which relies to a large extent on communication. Improving effective communication is also one of the patient safety objectives. A minor error during handover between changes can affect patient safety. Likewise critical test values will need to be communicated immediately to the worried consultant and in the event of a code blue, alerting the code blue team or the concerned personnel is crucial. In a healthcare setup where a crucial test result or a change in the individual condition could be a matter of life and death the importance of communication cannot be emphasized enough.
Some strategies for effective Communicating in hospitals:
- Soft skill training ought to be given to staff for greater patient handling. Rude staff and insufficient data and attention from employees are regular complains of patients in the registration and enquiry desk during the peak hours of individual flow.
- The hospital must plan and prepare for communicating strategies in situations where improved communication is necessary and train their employees for the same, for e.g. sudden death of a patient, violent patient relatives etc.
It is also essential that the patient relatives are occasionally updated about the state of the patient.
- Senior clinical and management team should always promote an open channel of communication with employees down the road. There were incidences in best cardiology hospital in bangalore where patient care was compromised because the physicians were apprehensive to get in touch with the doctor. A fantastic communication culture in the business also enhances employee satisfaction as it enhances transparency and increases liability.