Effective Communication in Healthcare

One of the most important components of quality medical care is patient handoffs. Communication accuracy regarding information about a patient from one health care worker to another is required to ensure patient safety.   It has been determined that a breakdown in communication during the handoff process is one of the leading causes of preventable errors is the healthcare setting.   These errors can result in anything from decreased patient satisfaction to   a sentinel event.   Clear, concise, and timely communication is needed to prevent these types of breakdowns from occurring.
Any time the responsibility of caring for a patient is transferred from one health care worker to another there should be an opportunity for the healthcare workers to share information about that patient.   Time should be allowed to ask questions and clarify information. Most healthcare facilities have implemented a standardized approach in regard to the handoff process.   These approaches usually include limited interruptions, opportunity to review a patient’s chart, and a conversation between clinicians that includes the current condition, treatments and concerns about the patient.
In the given scenario, there appears to be great potential for a breakdown in communication to occur. Some of the factors that could potentially affect Anjal’s ability to clearly communication information to Dacy are fatigue, concern for her children, and being distracted by her physical environment.
The physical environment in which the handoff takes place often has the greatest effect on the quality of the handoff process.   For example, a noisy nurse’s station is probably not the ideal place for a handoff to occur.   A quiet environment free from distractions would probably provide the best opportunity for nurses to discuss the important information pertaining to a patient.   If appropriate, the handoff could actually occur in each patient’s room. This would allow Anjal to introduce the patient to Dacy and...