Models of Communication in Healthcare
Eﬀective communication is necessary to deliver safe, high-quality medical care. At the core of eﬀective communication is the ability to develop meaningful relationship with patients. Researchers have carried out many different studies to characterize models of communication in healthcare. Nova Corcoran, in his book Communicating Health: Strategies for Health Promotion, describes five models: intrapersonal, interpersonal, organizational, community and public/mass communication. What unifies all of them is the need for a healthy work environment and the right technology to facilitate communication.
A Theoretical Study
A study conducted by a team of researchers at McMaster University concluded that, despite substantial investments in technology and training of personnel particularly in the past decade, "we are no further ahead in improving patient safety and hospital complications are no less frequent now than in the 1990s." The researchers also posited that “Much of the blame for this frustratingly slow progress in improving patient safety may be attributed to faulty communication within and between healthcare teams.”
The absence of an efficient communication system, communication tools, and the ability to collect and track knowledge about patients, disease management accumulated experience, and work experience will likely lead to the same conclusion.
Emerging Means of Communication
The essential goal of modeling communication in the healthcare industry is to streamline information exchange between medical workers and patients, as well as with other organizations and communities. Remote medical care has evolved over the past decade to make this goal a reality. Additionally, the evolution of IoT usage for health is taking the healthcare industry by storm, putting pressure on medical care providers to expand means of availability between patients and medical teams.
The Typical Communication Medium
Effective communication in a healthcare organization is facilitated by chat, web conferencing, medical records exchange, video, and voice channels. These means of communication are increasingly in demand in healthcare teams to improve the patient experience by making it easy to reach the people who can best answer their questions. Healthcare professionals should be aware that:
- A practical communication medium will work through contact center that is able to connect patients to the right person at the right time.
- A practical communication contact center should provide medical workers with up-to-the-minute patient information is a baseline necessity to drive quality care.
- Overwhelming amounts of voice messages, email and chat interactions necessitates a system that can handle the capacity and maintain availability.
The Culture Integration Between Working Systems and Technology
A successful work environment focused on serving clients is not the result of disconnected working silos but of a continuous learning and improvement process. A caregiving system without proper setup to document and learn from each patient case can repeat mistakes. Every piece of technology in use should be selected carefully (e.g., phone systems, PBX, mobile devices, etc.).
The software applications that enable the work are key, however, these applications are less effective without a solid communication infrastructure. When you face repetitive behavior as a result of miscommunication between software and working teams, the disconnect becomes clear. While, in many cases, personal professionalism can hide these problems, expanding working teams with untrained workers will ultimately expose those issues.
Selection criteria for a healthcare communication system should include:
- Capacity to grow
- Self-learning capability
- Ability to innovate to overcome communication obstacles
- Ability to be easily integrated with new devices
Communication Solution for Healthcare Environment
Improving communication within healthcare teams and enabling doctors to converse with patients remotely are basic functionalities that your unified communication solution should also offer. Additionally, in today's fast-paced working environments, both your team who work on the front line to serve patients and your team working to support and manage the front line teams need an easy-to-use contact system that is available in the office, at the hospital or on the go. Your contact system should be able to connect with mobile devices seamlessly to provide secure chat and phone calls between patients and caregivers, as well as between caregivers and support staff.
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