Effects of Poor Communication In Healthcare
As the healthcare system has become more complex and patient expectations are fast evolving, medical facilities are facing many challenges posed by the lack of effective communication among staff and patients.
Ineffective communication in healthcare can have extensive repercussions on the quality of care and patient outcome. Here are the negative effects of poor communication and how a cloud-based system can help alleviate many of the challenges:
How Poor Communication Impacts Healthcare
Subpar communication in healthcare can result in many negative effects, including:
- Medical errors: Mistakes often occur when there's a breakdown in information sharing among the medical staff involved in a patients' treatment. Proper documentation is, of course, important but the data also needs to be distributed to the entire team in a timely manner so errors can be identified and corrected before adverse medical events happen.
- Long wait time: Patients shouldn't have to wait for more than 15 minutes for their scheduled appointments but the lack of communication can lead to delays that diminish the patient experience. The same goes for hold times over the phone when patients call to schedule appointments, obtain patient care instructions, or inquire about billing and collection.
- Frustration among healthcare staff: The lack of ability to share information in real time can lead to delays in communication that cause friction among medical staff. These incidences can create workplace conflicts and impact the quality of patient care as well as the success of a medical practice.
- Poor treatment recommendations and decision-making: When patient history and data aren't shared among all the healthcare staff, patients may not receive the most appropriate treatment recommendations to help them make the best decisions.
- Incomplete follow up: Without a communication system to help categorize and prioritize patient inquiries and track the call statuses, it's easy for some follow-up activities to fall through the crack. As a result, patients fail to get the care they need.
Repercussions Of Poor Communications In Healthcare
Poor communications in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities can lead to costly errors, poor patient outcomes, and lower patient retention.
Patients may receive the wrong treatment, delays in their treatments, and even the incorrect medications. Delays and errors can lead to serious consequences, such as severe complications or even death.
This will, in turn, create liability issues for a healthcare organization, not to mention a negative impact on its reputation.
In addition, poor communication can impact patient experience. In today's healthcare market, patients are paying for a larger portion of their medical bills (e.g., higher co-pay and deductible) and they demand more responsive services from their providers.
For example, long wait time, workplace conflicts among healthcare staff, and delays in getting their phone inquiries answered can lower the quality of the patient experience, which will negatively impact patient retention and referrals.
How Using UCaaS, CCaaS, And VoIP Can Help Improve Communication In Healthcare
To avoid the negative effects of poor communications, healthcare providers need efficient systems that can support large call volume and information sharing in real-time.
Cloud-based communication systems, such as such as UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service), CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service), and VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), are used by more and more healthcare organizations to improve communication with patients and among staff.
These cloud-based systems allow hospitals and clinics to:
- Facilitate information sharing and reduce medical errors: UCaSS and VoIP platforms often include features such as messaging and file sharing so medical staff can communicate important patient information in real-time to facilitate decision-making and avoid errors. In addition, the files and communication records are stored in a centralized location so they can be searched and retrieved for reference anytime.
- Improve patient outcome: VoIP services offer the ability to track call statues, prioritize patient inquiries, and monitor follow up workflows so patients can get the proper care to improve long-term outcome. UCaSS offers features such as video conferencing so care providers can use visual components, such as diagrams and demonstration, to ensure patients understand more complicated instructions.
- Increase patient experience and retention: VoIP services allow providers to become more responsive in their patient communication to reduce wait time and improve patient satisfaction. In addition, better communication among staff helps reduce conflict and improve the overall environment of the care facility. This will lead to a better overall patient experience and increased patient retention.
Choosing the right cloud-based communication systems can help healthcare providers avoid the many negative effects of poor communication while increasing efficiency and improving care quality.
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