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The Importance of Effective Patient Communication

patient communicationRegardless of the business or industry, effective communication is essential. Perhaps, even more, when it comes to the healthcare field.

Over the years, research has shown that regardless of how knowledgeable a medical professional may be, if he or she is unable to communicate effectively with the patient, the end result can be an unsatisfied patient experience.

The Impact of Communication

The Institute for Healthcare Communication shares a variety of information on the importance of effective communication, including this eye-opening fact: clinicians conduct up to 150,000 patient interviews over the course of their career.

Despite the regularity of patient interviews, communication training continues to lag behind in regards to attention and focus during the training process.

Additionally, a study by the Institute for Healthcare Communication shared the following:

“Research evidence indicates that there are strong positive relationships between a healthcare team member’s communication skills and a patient’s capacity to follow through with medical recommendations, self-manage a chronic medical condition, and adopt preventive health behaviors.”

In other words, the way a healthcare professional communicates can directly positively impact a patient’s health outcome as well as experience. Effective communication improves the likelihood that the patient will follow through with recommendations, manage their health in the appropriate manner, and take steps towards living a better life.

Impact of Poor Communication

Poor communication between a clinician and patient can result in the following:

  • Confusion regarding the best treatment strategy.
  • Inability for the patient to care for him or herself at home.
  • Overall poor experience, thus pushing the patient away from one facility ir seeking additional care at all.

Benefits of Great Communication

  • Higher patient satisfaction, which now directly impacts hospital payments with the new healthcare laws, and ultimately with retention.
  • Improved odds patient wellbeing as the confidence increases of the patient taking better care of him or herself at home.
  • Better results in regards to the effectiveness of the treatment.

Steps to Take

Knowing that effective communication is key, here are three things any hospital or medical facility can do:

  • Implement a training program built on the idea that effective patient communication is job number one.
  • Use surveys to determine if your hospital and medical professionals are excelling or falling behind in this area.
  • Continually implement new methods for improving patient communication, such as the use of advanced technology.

By taking these steps, any hospital or medical provider can improve in the area of patient communication.


Every year, doctors and other healthcare team members interact with patients thousands of times.

With the implementation of an effective communication plan, all parties involved end up in a better place when everything is said and done. However, when ineffective communication runs rampant, the final experience could be sicker patients and less hospital reimbursement dollars.

From patient satisfaction to patient retention, there are many reasons to focus on the importance of effective patient communication.

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