6 Ways to Improve Patient Communication

6 Ways to Improve Patient Communication

One of the most critical components in healthcare is the ability to communicate effectively with patients. Strong communication skills allow you to form meaningful relationships with your patients that can both improve patient health outcomes and enhance your job satisfaction.

Alarming statistics from the Joint Commission’s report reveal a harsh reality: over 70% of adverse health outcomes stem from breakdowns in doctor-patient communication. Astonishingly, most patients find themselves unaware of their diagnosis or struggle to grasp the doctor’s instructions regarding medication or lifestyle changes.

Read on to learn more about effective communication techniques, the significance of patient engagement in healthcare, strategies for upholding a patient-centered approach, and other essential aspects that contribute to fostering a professional and impactful healthcare environment.

Active Listening and Empathy

Healthcare providers are often overworked and in an endless rush to complete many tasks. However, giving each patient your undivided attention is essential to make them feel relaxed and valued. Patients are often nervous about their hospital visits, and it’s your job to make them feel comfortable enough to trust you with their health problems.

If patients feel that you’re talking at them instead of with them, then they’re unlikely to communicate honestly with you. Therefore, the first step to becoming an effective communicator is to be fully present in the moment when engaging with the patient. 

Next, use positive words and non-verbal communication to encourage them to communicate. It’s important for you to listen intently and empathize with their situation to establish a connection with your patient.

Clear and Accessible Communication Channels

Try to establish a rapport with your patients from the get-go. Next, ask them what they’d like to achieve through this visit. Research shows that building a clear communication channel with patients reduces the likelihood of patients withholding information or introducing new complaints late into the treatment.

It’s important to ask open-ended questions and hear the patient out to prevent miscommunication. Don’t just rely on their words. Instead, study the patient’s facial expressions and body language so that you can respond effectively to soothe their concerns.

The Use of Technology for Seamless Communication and Accessibility

In today’s healthcare landscape, the pivotal role of technology cannot be overstated. A remarkable 47% of individuals have harnessed technology to engage with their healthcare providers. This statistic underscores the transformative potential of technology in fostering enhanced patient communication. By embracing and appropriately using modern technology, healthcare stakeholders have the power to revolutionize how patients and providers interact, ultimately improving healthcare outcomes.

Innovative Healthcare Solutions for Effective Communication

Healthcare tech constantly evolves and includes many features for improving patient communication, such as AI health chatbots, portals for storing patient data, telehealth systems, and automated notifications. These technological tools can help you create patient-centered communication that breaks down barriers between you and your patients.

Benefits of Technology in Enhancing Patient Communication

According to a survey conducted by Accenture, approximately 70% of patients are more inclined to select a healthcare provider that offers follow-up reminders through email or text communication. These findings underscore the growing expectation among patients for healthcare providers to embrace technological advancements to enhance the accessibility of healthcare services.

How Clinicians Use Technology to Connect with Their Patients

V6 Wall Arm for Documentation
V6™ Wall Station

Convenient access to electronic health records (EHRs) can significantly improve patient care. With EHRs, healthcare professionals can quickly access complete patient information, such as medical history, test results, medications, and allergies. This immediate access to EHR solutions empowers healthcare providers to have informed conversations and deliver personalized care during patient interactions, resulting in better engagement. These EHR’s are accessible through bedside workstations such as Wall Mounted Workstations, which are equipped with a monitor and keyboard and are securely affixed to a wall mount. 

The V6 Wall Station can be positioned close to a patient’s bedside, allowing caregivers to maintain eye contact while charting and sharing information with the patient when appropriate. It can also present diagnostic images, test results, or educational materials to patients, thereby enriching their interactive healthcare experience. Patients can better understand their health conditions and treatment options, resulting in improved patient communication and engagement.

Shared Decision-Making Efforts with Patients

When it’s time to make critical decisions, it’s essential to collaborate with your patients and share their concerns. This entails engaging in open and honest conversations about their health goals and proposing the most suitable treatment plan to align with those goals.

By involving patients in the decision-making process, they feel heard, respected, and valued, fostering a sense of involvement and leading to better compliance and adherence to treatment. Additionally, patients who actively participate are more likely to develop trust in their healthcare providers and gain a deeper understanding of the medical advice provided.

When patients have confidence in their healthcare providers’ decisions, they experience reduced anxiety throughout the treatment process and are better equipped to maintain a positive mindset during their illness.

Even in the face of challenges such as unexpected side effects, patients are more likely to seek the healthcare provider’s opinion rather than discontinuing treatment altogether, demonstrating the value of shared decision-making.

Furthermore, incorporating shared decision-making and educating patients about their health conditions can strengthen the physician-patient relationship, prevent communication breakdown, and enhance patient loyalty and satisfaction for both parties involved.

Health Education and Patient Resources for Empowerment

Using the ask-tell-ask method is a good way to check whether your patient has understood all the information regarding their condition. This method is best used at the end of a patient visit so that the patient can recap and retain everything discussed during the session. 

The first step is to ask the patient to describe their condition in their own words. Next, use the most common language to tell the patient valuable information regarding their treatment options, things to watch out for, or any bad news like the chances of treatment failure. Don’t use any complicated medical terms or overload the patient with too much information at this point. It’s best to summarize it into three or fewer key points. Finally, ask the patient if they’veunderstood everything you just said, and if they did, repeat it back to you. 

During this stage, it is crucial to actively encourage patients to ask any additional questions they may have and address any misunderstandings that may arise. In cases where the condition is complex or the patient appears to have difficulty grasping the information, it is beneficial to suggest reputable resources to educate themselves further and better understand the subject matter. This is particularly important to ensure that patients do not rely on unreliable sources of information.

Equipping patients with knowledge about their condition empowers them and instills confidence in their own wellness journey. With a better understanding of their condition, they are more likely to adhere to the recommended treatment plan and be vigilant for any concerning symptoms that could hinder their progress.

Training Programs for Effective Communication Skills

An observational study involving over 1500 physicians revealed compelling results: healthcare providers who received communication training experienced notable improvements in empathy levels and significantly reduced burnout. Furthermore, their patients reported higher satisfaction scores.

Considering the ever-increasing burden on patients in today’s healthcare landscape, the significance of effective communication skills cannot be overstated. By honing these skills, healthcare providers have the potential to make a substantial positive impact, enabling them to address patients’ needs promptly and efficiently.

Adapting Communication to Different Patient

Effective communication with patients is influenced by numerous factors that must be considered. These factors encompass the patient’s health literacy, mental and emotional well-being, physical condition, age, communication abilities, presence of disabilities, and proficiency in the language used for communication.

It becomes crucial to adapt one’s communication approach to meet each patient’s specific needs. Recognizing and catering to these diverse factors ensures that the communication is tailored appropriately, fostering better understanding and engagement between healthcare providers and their patients.

Point of care systems are becoming increasingly important in the healthcare industry as the need to provide fast and efficient care to patients increases. As a result, there is a growing demand for remote interpreting services that can provide communication access to patients and medical professionals. Video remote interpreting (VRI) is an excellent addition to the point of care that allows you to communicate with patients in their native language, regardless of their location. 

VRI carts are very simple to use and easy to integrate into your practice. You simply mount your chosen equipment onto the cart, such as the tablet or large monitor and your audio equipment. The heavy-duty Tryten X1 Monitor cart can easily accommodate a large display monitor, speaker configuration, and video bar. If you want a smaller and more portable option, the S series offers a range of lightweight, tablet-based carts. 

You can install the VRI software of your choice on your technology and immediately expand your patients’ access to quality medical interpreting services. 

Elevate Patient Communication with Innovative Healthcare Solutions

If you’ve been looking for innovative patient engagement solutions, your search might end here. Capsa Healthcare stands at the forefront of healthcare advancements, specializing in developing workstations, medical supplies, storage solutions, and pharmacy automation. As we navigate the new era of technology, it becomes increasingly crucial to stay attuned to patients’ needs and surpass their expectations.Visit Capsa Healthcare today to learn more about our solutions and devices to enhance your patients’ experience, improve your patient-centered communication, and help you use medical technology to your advantage.