The Importance of Clear, Effective Communication in Healthcare
Posted on April 13, 2016
Communication in a healthcare setting is one of the most important tools we have for providing great patient care and improving patient satisfaction. However, lines of communication can frequently be crossed and lead to lower patient satisfaction scores, illnesses or worse. According to information shared in a recent article from Becker’s Hospital Review: “…more than a quarter of hospital readmissions could be avoided with better communication among healthcare teams and between providers and patients.”
Every patient who comes to a hospital has a team of people involved in providing care throughout their healing process: from doctors and nurses to housekeeping and culinary teams, and even their family and loved ones. With so many parties involved, it’s understandable that missteps in communication could occur. At HHS, we take communication and patient care seriously and train our team members to break down these communication barriers to provide excellent patient care.
When discussing how EVS team members can impact the patient experience, HHS Chief Operating Officer, Bobby Floyd, noted: “Patients have a higher expectation of the type of care they are going to receive when they are in the hospital, and not just from nurses and doctors but also from support services such as housekeeping. They expect courtesy and communication from all whom they interact with, including room technicians and other frontline team members.
“As such, the caliber of frontline team members has changed: they need to not only perform their day to day duties, but also be able to address needs of patients. They are expected to speak with the patient, determine his or her needs, and solve problems, all in a proactive manner.”
Our team members have multiple opportunities each and every day to positively impact the experience and satisfaction of a variety of patients, and it is our goal to ensure the people in these important roles make the most of those opportunities.
Here are a few of the tools and best practices we utilize to empower our team members to consistently communicate clearly and effectively:
Tools for Providing Excellent Communication in a Healthcare Setting
By utilizing hospitality methodologies and principles established by the Disney Institute, Cleveland Clinic, and Studer Group, we equip our team members with the skills and knowledge they need to most effectively communicate with the patients they serve.
Instead of scripting our team members, we teach them communication principles and guidelines that empower them to initiate a meaningful connection with the patients they serve. Team members receive empathy training and are provided with key words to utilize so that they can effectively communicate with patients and visitors during times of need. Our true goal is to have team members that genuinely connect to patients and give the feeling of quality care.
“The most important thing I can do for a patient is just to smile and use a calm and welcoming voice,” says HHS Regional Director David Sadera. “Everyone else is rushing in and out and most times they don’t even know who is in their room, so I take the time to introduce myself and tell them how I am going to take care of them. I offer to open the blinds, prop them up to be more comfortable, ask how they are doing, and let them I will keep them in my thoughts when they say they don’t feel well. These little gestures can make a big difference.”
Through our Nurturing Nurses Program, we train our team members and leadership to nurture their relationships with the nursing staff to ensure that they are seen as a helpful and integrated part of the team. This allows nurses to depend on the EVS or Culinary teams to complete tasks that would otherwise take their time away from providing patient care or other duties for which they are specifically trained.
All HHS team members are also trained to utilize the “do not pass rule:” If a call light is on, team members must stop to check on the patient to see how they can help. If there is a simple task, such as providing additional blankets or toiletries, the team member assists the patient directly. Should more specialized care be needed, team members will retrieve a nurse or doctor and help to ensure that assistance is provided quickly when urgently needed.
By providing effective communication with the patients they serve and the nurses they work alongside, our team members do their part to improve patient satisfaction and ensure that their patients are receiving the best care possible.
For more information on the HHS family of services, please contact us.