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Communicating More Effectively With Your Patients and Staff

May 23, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 105

Does your hospital, medical office, or healthcare technology business have a communication problem? If you're experiencing a breakdown in communication, whether it's with your clients, patients, or employees, other problems can begin to crop up which can ultimately harm your organization's reputation. This could lead to high staff turnover or a severe loss of patients or clients and have a negative ripple effect on your business. Research has shown that one unhappy customer usually tells 11 other people about a negative experience, and in turn, each of those 11 will tell 5 others. That's a total of 67 people who now have a less than favorable impression on your services or products. If your organization is experiencing communication problems, you have to resolve them as soon as possible.

The eight major reasons for communication failure today are due to the following:

Information Overload: providing your staff or patients with more information than they could possibly handle at any given moment. Information overload can also occur if you're giving them too many ways in which to receive those messages, i.e. emails, websites, memos, etc.

Poor-Quality Information: presenting disorganized information to your employees. You can also be dispensing outdated and erroneous information.

Poor Timing: check on the timing of your messages. Are you giving information to someone at the wrong time, is it late, not current, or even too early? It could also be that the recipient of the information might not be able to deal or process it at that particular time.

Lack of Feedback from Customers: if you're now following up with your patients you may now know what problems, if any, exist. Some patients are reluctant to voice their displeasure on their own, but may do so if someone follows-up either by phone call or email asking about their experience.

Follow-up from Personnel: no matter what you're trying to communicate with another party, it's always helpful to receive feedback. But problems may arise when you receive few responses or poor request for feedback.

Communication Anxiety: this can manifest itself in nervousness, stress, and apprehension. It also hampers the ability to think, talk, and listen.

Cultural Barriers: any biases and prejudices can severely affect communication issues in the workplace.

Technological: malfunctions or a break down in equipment is another reason of communication failure. So how do you correct or resolve these communication issues? Develop a communications plan to evaluate how your office is presently communicating with your patients.

This will assist you with the following:


First, you have to understand the communication problem and the only way to do so is to identify what the problem is. This may involve listening to those clients, staff members, or patients who were involved in a communication breakdown in the first place. Discover the roots of why that breakdown occurred in the first place. Only then will you be able to find out what you need to correct.


Never underestimate the importance of personal contact. Today, it's so easy to get caught up in emailing or texting rather than picking up the phone or speaking with someone in person. Don't substitute technology for personal interaction. More direct contact will help you build rapport and trust.


In a healthcare setting, you're often dealing with a variety of patients and employees, and not everyone will understand you in the same manner. We each process information differently. That's why it's important to always ask whether you have been in clear in your instructions or if that person needs more clarification.

If your organization is already suffering communication problems, don't wait for the symptoms to get worse. Good communication is necessary for your healthcare organization to function properly and thrive. Take action immediately on any communication problems in your workplace and prevent them from getting worse.

By Dr. Cathy Cameron

If you'd like a sample of a communications plan that you can use as a model for your office, please email for your free copy.

A college professor at local universities for over 20 years, Dr. Cathy Cameron designed the 777 Business Program, which will soon be available in print and eBook. The program is 7 courses in 7 days for 7 hours per day that provides one with a solid business foundation. Next book 555 Technology Training Today for Tomorrow will be out next year.

Source: EzineArticles
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