Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Good communication skills are considered essential to healthcare. They can enhance patient and caregiver satisfaction, reduce errors, and even improve health outcomes. This week communication skills finally got the attention they deserve.
On Dec. 6, 2010, USA Today featured survey results, sponsored by the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare, of doctors and hospitalized patients on the front page of the print edition. The poll was also prominently featured in the Health section of the online edition.
With daily print circulation of approximately 2.3 million, USA Today is one of the largest-selling newspapers in the nation. I can't think of a better way to publicize the importance of effective communication between patients and caregivers.
Despite the increased emphasis on better communication in the medical community, USA Today highlighted the need for continued improvement in doctor-patient communication based on the survey results. This message couldn't have come at a more crucial time; especially as pressures to reduce healthcare costs and increase efficiency have increased due to healthcare reform.
Over the past 15 years, the Schwartz Center has worked diligently to promote communication skills in the face of intensifying pressures. We currently reach 60,000 caregivers annually through the Schwartz Center Rounds. Though this number is growing, there are still many caregivers who we haven't reached. What's exciting about the USA Today article is that it allows us to connect with the widest possible audience of caregivers and patients, reinforcing the message that enhanced communication is a necessity not a luxury.
In your opinion, what's the most effective way to promote communication in healthcare?