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Through effective communication between different healthcare facilities and the patients themselves, improvements can be made regarding a range of medical issues, including post-operative recovery. However, with the rise in digital healthcare, communication should soon be far more effective.
Problems in Healthcare Communication
With medical appointments becoming relatively scarce through ever-lengthening queues, there is often a sense of urgency to dismiss one patient to see the next. Often, patients’ questions are ignored, and clear explanations of a condition or what to expect from further treatment are omitted.
Clinical research has shown that errors due to a lack of communication skills are twice as likely to harm a patient’s well-being than a poor standard of healthcare or surgery.
Patients and Explanations
Medical staff usually have the advantage when it comes to communication. They have the training and knowledge to understand the illnesses and problems patients face. However, when a patient is preoccupied with fatigue, worry, and doubt, failing to explain adequately during an appointment is often blamed for a continued decline in a patient’s health.
An estimated 75% of patients feel confused or inadequately informed after a medical appointment. Problems can occur in misunderstanding how and when to take medication correctly or a doctor not defining which symptoms are more important. However, the digital revolution has already been helping to increase effective communication.
Increase in Information
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Digital healthcare is increasing at an unexpected rate. There is far greater access to information than ever before through the internet. For example, a GP (General Practitioner) can now easily download useful factsheets prepared by medical universities specifically for patient use. The information helps compensate for the lack of time during an appointment.
Written notes can be read at leisure and referred to several times by patients, family members, or carers. There can even be links to helpful websites that explain health problems in greater detail. In primary healthcare, communication through providing accessible information helps patients understand their medical problems more effectively.
Digital Communication in Healthcare Facilities
Remote consultations are greatly unpopular with the majority of patients. Feelings of vulnerability and isolation are increased when patients are denied the choice of seeing their GP in person. However, using digital technology in this capacity is perhaps not making the most of its strengths. Remote consultations can be a much more valuable method of communication when used by trained professionals in hospitals and clinics.
A consultant may want another specialist to contribute to a patient’s diagnosis in some cases. However, communicating through traditional means such as sending a patient for a second appointment in another hospital can be time-consuming and cause unnecessary, even life-threatening, delays. Digital formats such as Skype can enable trained specialists in separate healthcare centers to communicate instantly. For example, a second consultant can remotely see and hear a patient. In this format, digital communication through remote consultation can only help improve the speed and accuracy of a diagnosis.
Digital Communication and Medical Records
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Accurate medical records are an essential guide for medical staff during patient appointments. When handwritten, notes were often illegible, preventing vital information from being accessed. Problems such as an allergic reaction to specific medication could be overlooked through inaccurate interpretation of poor handwriting.
Healthcare records stored digitally provide clear communication through legible text. Software programs contribute to effective healthcare communication by streamlining a patient’s medical history. In addition, files can be instantly accessed from any location, helping to improve patient care.
Benefits of Digital Community Healthcare
Hospital medical teams can offer much more sophisticated procedures than a few decades ago. Success rates in surgery and treatments for serious illnesses have significantly increased, but so have patient numbers. Patients are often released back to their own homes faster, leaving community healthcare workers to continue monitoring and supporting a patient’s recovery. Digital communication plays a vital role in this scenario.
District nurses who are perhaps unfamiliar with a particular patient’s case can now benefit from digital healthcare communication. Likewise, patients benefit from different healthcare departments to coordinate their information. In turn, communication helps create more meaningful, effective roles in community healthcare.
Communication in digital healthcare can only increase the effectiveness of a range of services provided by medical staff. Communication between different departments can help increase the speed and accuracy of treatment and recording notes. It also provides patients with additional information that can be fully understood during less stressful circumstances. Communicating effectively in digital healthcare provides essential information and reassurance for patients and medical staff.
Author Bio: This article was written by Seamus Dunne of Conversation Piece. Conversation Piece is a leading player in telecommunications, providing VoIP Phone Systems nationwide to large and small-scale businesses.