Healthcare, especially patient centered care, hinges on the communication between provider and patient. Great strides to improve patient-provider interactions have occurred over the last several years. And improving patient centered care means improving patient outcomes as well. While physicians are taking more time to provide empathetic care, one often overlooked area of communication is the actual language used to communicate with patients.
Medical jargon places a wall between provider and patient, and more often than not, the patient probably hears “Blah blah blah Heart Attack blah blah blah Cancer”, as one nurse points out. With elevated stress and anxiety levels attributed to simply visiting a hospital affecting comprehension combined with the stress of a potential health complication and the general hurried nature of today's healthcare practice, it's no wonder mis-communication occurs. For providers who care for children, communication in a developmentally appropriate manner is critical as it helps to lessen any fears or worries the child may experience. Striving to explain procedures, tests, diagnosis, and treatments in a simple way can only help to improve patients' experiences and outcomes.
How do you tailor your interactions with patients to ensure they understand you?