Are care-centered conversations the key to success?

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Last week Press Ganey released a study that found that nursing communication was a “rising tide” measure, when it came to improving HCAHPS scores. “Specifically, when hospitals improve nurse communications with patients, they will likely see associated gains in other scores: responsiveness of hospital staff, pain management, communication about medication and increased overall patient experience scores.”

It makes sense. If you improve the quantity – as well as the quality of care-centered communications, it is likely that patients will feel staff is more responsive, and better communication specifically about pain management and medications would increase those scores.

However, care-centered conversations can often lose out to administrative and transactional dialog leaving little time to build relationships, emphathize, and engage in other more affective communications with encouragement and coaching.

Another survey last week on communication, this one by Ponemon, found that outdated communications devices can make it harder to deliver effective patient care. A ComputerWorld article notes: “Clinicians in the survey estimated that only 45% of each workday is spent with patients; the remaining 55% is spent communicating and collaborating with other clinicians and using EMRs and other clinical IT systems.”

An infographic on the survey shows other highlights:

  • Clinicians waste an average of 46 minutes each day due to the use of outdated technologies. The primary reason is the inefficiency of pagers (as cited by 52%).
  • It takes 102 minutes to be discharged. About 37 minutes is spent waiting for doctors, specialists or others to respond with information necessary for a patient’s release.
  • A lengthy discharge process costs the U.S. hospital industry more than $3.189 billion a year in lost revenue.

These two reports show that attacking communication issues should come from two angles. People programs on communication tools like AIDET or relationship-based care, in tandem with technology solutions that help patient-provider and provider-provider connections easier, should be adopted simultaneously to achieve greater results.

What are you doing to improve communication at your health system? Answer our poll for this week.

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