New models of care, innovative treatments, and the potential for better patient outcomes are transforming the healthcare sector. Providers and care teams have more tools and resources at their disposal than ever before. Even with these advances, robust communication strategies remain a core competency for providers to deliver effective and efficient care.
Providers and care teams have a wealth of knowledge. How providers share that knowledge with patients is important. Providers who focus on clear, honest, respectful communication with patients make it easier to make accurate diagnoses and effective treatment recommendations. Information sharing among providers and care teams gives a comprehensive view of patients and their health information. Pairing technology solutions with effective communication across teams and with patients creates a strong foundation for better care.
This is not only true in traditional healthcare settings. Historically, patients have traveled to providers and healthcare facilities to receive care. Trends in the delivery of healthcare are reflecting a shift to more home-based models. Providers and care teams who deliver care to patients at home must also incorporate these approaches into their care plans.
The important elements of healthcare communication
Communicating with the patient during visits
In addition to communication across healthcare teams, engaging patients and their families is also vital. Research indicates a correlation between a focus on patient and family engagement and the reduction of adverse events. Building a trusted relationship between provider and patient can have a significant impact. Engaging patients and their families and encouraging them to play a role in the design of the care plan supports their experience and can contribute to better care outcomes.
How can providers and care teams successfully engage with patients and their families?Explain medical terminology and procedures, and make sure patients and families understand and have an opportunity to ask questions. Always be as clear and direct as possible. Providers can also ask open-ended questions and create an opportunity for patients to ask for clarification or raise other issues that they want to discuss. Studies also show that ensuring the patient and provider are seated can lead to a better interaction. Sitting down to talk to a patient makes a big impact and can reduce patient anxiety around communication. Engaging and communicating with patients and their families builds trusting relationships. Providers who make home visits have an opportunity to learn more about their patients as they provide care at home. Making sure to use these strategies can help patients feel more comfortable and engaged in their care.
Field-based clinicians — or providers who make home visits or provide at-home services — must make good patient communication a central focus outside of visits as well. Patient information that is documented during a home visit must be effectively recorded and transmitted back to the patient care team and healthcare organization. Field-based clinicians must also be able to exchange information with their care team and the patient to effectively communicate about ongoing treatments, health indicators, visit notes, and updates to the patient record. This task is not always easy without the technology available in the clinical setting. Welkin solves these challenges and offers services for field-based clinicians to communicate with care teams, record patient encounters, and integrate patient data logged into the patient record. Communicating with patients through traditional methods such as text or email are easier for patients, as they are used to communicating that way. Making patients log into a portal can often add confusion to the process.
Transmitting patient data
Patient data is shared across healthcare sites and teams through both interhospital and intrahospital communication. Providers and care teams need access to patient records to deliver safe, effective care. When patient records are delayed, the risk of errors, duplicative care, or delays in care increases. A recent study shows that poor data-sharing systems are “the key reasons for medical errors.”
Strong, secure communication systems support efficient healthcare delivery, resulting in better patient outcomes, patient experience, and lower overall costs. Welkin offers providers and care teams the ability to log patient data and communications synchronously or asynchronously.. Streamlining care coordination between teams with better care plan visibility enables patient-centered care and lets providers and care teams focus on the patient.
Collaborating with colleagues when in the field
Patients don’t receive care from just one provider – typically, a group of individuals works together within and across organizations to deliver care. True patient-centered care requires collaboration and effective communication. A patient’s care team can include their primary care physician, specialists, pharmacist, nurse, health coach, insurance staff, support from family and friends, and any other individuals who formally or informally are engaged in their care.
Collaboration between colleagues and effective communication is required to create an approach and system that operates as efficiently as possible. For providers and care teams, this also includes ensuring information that is entered into patient records is accurate. Errors and inaccurate communication can pose a risk to patient safety.
Healthcare teams with solid communication strategies and an organizational focus on the importance of teamwork deliver better care. When clinical and administrative staff are supported and encouraged to collaborate effectively, patient outcomes improve, medical errors are reduced, efficient care is delivered, and patient satisfaction increases.
Everything between the office and the patient’s home
Home health providers focus on delivering care and treatment in the home for patients who require a certain level of care due to a disability, chronic illness, or recovery from a recent procedure or hospital stay. Home visits are an important tool in monitoring progress and providing care. Advancements in technology, such as the enablement of telehealth, help providers and care teams support patients in between at-home visits.
If a concern arises between patient visits, or if a patient is not at home, Welkin can help providers check in with patients using telehealth technology. This technology makes it more convenient for providers, care teams, and patients to stay in touch, continue the care plan, and address any issues that may arise.
Communication with a patient plays a significant role in ensuring adherence to a patient’s care plan and the likelihood of good outcomes. Simplifying communication and enabling multiple communication channels allows patients to choose the best method for them. Welkin lets providers and care teams contact patients via phone, text, email, video, chat, and app & web messaging. These channels keep providers and patients connected between home check-ins and appointments, support patient engagement, and provide encouragement and education.
Communication is a crucial competency
A healthy relationship between providers and patients is necessary for high-quality care, good patient outcomes, and a positive patient experience. Providers and care teams need effective communication strategies to ensure they have all of the information they need as clinicians make diagnoses and develop care plans. Successful strategies must work for both intrahospital and interhospital communication. Transmitting patient data, communicating with colleagues, and engaging with patients and their families are all more efficient and effective with a comprehensive communication and data platform.
New models of technology support comprehensive support for patients and real-time updates to patient records in clinical and at-home settings. Are you a provider who wants to communicate effectively with your patients? Learn more about Welkin and how it can help you facilitate better communication between providers, care teams, and patients.