By Simon Mikail, co-founder and head of operations, 405 Ads.
Providing quality care and achieving better clinical outcomes for patients are two goals that drive most physicians and healthcare providers. Effective communication between patients and healthcare professionals including physicians, nurses, lab technicians, etc. is critically important for achieving these two goals.
Here in this post, we will share with you the top seven tips to improve communication at your healthcare practice:
- Keep It Simple
Using simple, non-medical language can help establish a doctor-patient relationship that leads to better patient outcomes.
Patients are more likely to trust healthcare professionals who use simple language and common vocabulary that everyone can easily understand.
Anyone who interacts with patients at your healthcare practice should be advised to avoid using cryptic jargon including medical abbreviations, terminologies, and scientific terms.
The medical jargon does not help build trust and confidence; on the contrary, it leads to confusion.
- Feedback Loop
When communicating with patients, doctors and other healthcare professionals may take a smile or nod to mean they ‘got the message.’
To make sure patients aren’t disappointed with treatment results in the future or silently doubt recommended treatment regimens, create a feedback loop in order to assess how well a patient understands the information concerning symptoms of a medical condition, doctor’s advice, diagnosis, and treatment options.
A feedback loop helps ensure that patients process the conversation more effectively; it can help bridge the communication gap and improve comprehension.
How you can create a feedback loop to improve communication at your healthcare practice:
- Feedback Loop With Open-ended Questions: These are the questions asked during a medical interview that cannot be answered with a static response, or with a ‘yes,’ or ‘no.’ Open-ended questions can help you to obtain important information and quickly evaluate the degree of a patients’ understanding of the information conveyed during a conversation.
- Feedback Loop with Teach-Back Method: After providing patients with an explanation about the symptoms, condition, precautions, or treatments, you can ask them to ‘teach you back’ what you just said. The teach-back method is helpful especially when you are dealing with patients who are aged and others, who demonstrate a lack of ability to process information conveyed by a doctor or support staff.
- Feedback Loop With the Ask Me 3 Method: Created by health literacy specialists, the ‘Ask Me 3’ method encourages patients and their family members to ask three specific questions from healthcare service providers to better understand their condition and how they can stay healthy. These questions are – 1. ‘What is my main problem?’ 2. ‘What do I need to do?’ 3. ‘Why is it important for me to do this?’
- Train Your Staff
In most healthcare organizations, big or small, fresh recruits participate in a mandatory training program.