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Healthcare became one of the most important industries in 2020. Between the COVID pandemic and corresponding mental health issues, more people looked to their healthcare facilities. However, they weren’t always able to make an in-person visit. Telehealth became the prime way for physicians and patients to communicate in 2020. The numbers were over 75 percent in 2017. While telehealth sessions were more convenient for some, it also raised issues with on-going communication.
This wasn’t only between patients and medical professionals. It was also between those who worked within healthcare facilities. Though many institutions eventually found ways to set up their proper communication channels, others had unending problems with both technology and face-to-face interactions. Here are a few ways to improve communication at your healthcare facility.
Though applications like Zoom can help a patient talk to their provider via video it isn’t integrated into the facility’s record-keeping devices. To fix this, the healthcare organization needs to invest in an application that combines both data and video. One way to do this is to purchase a medical-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool.
A CRM helps improve communications by reducing a patient’s anxiety related to technology. It provides a space for them to fill out online forms and go directly to a telehealth conference. In turn, the patient doesn’t start an appointment expressing their frustration about check-ins or paperwork.
Keep Things Simple
Communications fail the moment you attempt to discuss a situation in complex detail. It doesn’t matter if it’s a patient or a co-worker, filling an explanation with complicated terms disconnects them from the situation. This can be harder for a patient to hear since they can’t tell if they’re okay or have a serious issue.
Keep explanations simple in all situations. Also, talk low and slow so those who listen get a complete understanding of the problem. Describing a delicate matter to a patient with deliberate evenness might make their reaction more subdued.
People rely on their smartphones for direct communication. Some of this is via actual calls while the rest is through texting. Healthcare facilities must take advantage of the latter by incorporating patient messaging software.
Doctors and other medical professionals can use software from companies like Text-Em-All to send direct messages to patients. They can alert them to upcoming appointments or lab results. This messaging software can also be used for group announcements related to a facility’s events.
One of the easiest ways to enhance communication at your healthcare facility is to train your staff. True, it might not seem as simple during a health crisis; however, it still needs to be done. Actually, training during something like a pandemic can help move things along. Moments like the coronavirus are stressful for patients and healthcare workers. Through training, you minimize the risk that one of your employees will display their frustration to a patient. They’ll have the necessary coping tools to pull back and present a stronger facade.
Training also helps with interactions between healthcare workers. Instead of stress and fear, they can utilize empathy and other forms of comfort. As a result, they’ll be able to work together to resolve issues.
Proper communication can be maintained through the use of checklists. These documents cover the steps required to check-in a patient or determine if they have a certain issue. They’re also helpful in describing the steps to escalate problems. There’s little or no confusion with a checklist because all of the data is available for view. Plus, the document is checked regularly in case a step needs to be added or removed. When properly used, the checklist helps both the healthcare worker and patient.
These are just a few of the ways you can improve communication at your healthcare facility. In general, the best advice is to remain calm in all situations. Though it has been hectic, you know things will eventually improve. That is the attitude you need to use when talking with patients and co-workers.
Take your time and simply explain things. Don’t get upset if a patient asks a dozen questions related to their issue. Go about it as methodically as you can.