How Can Medical Professionals Improve Communication?

Updated on January 29, 2024
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While there are many ways to improve the healthcare industry, medical professionals should also focus on how to improve their approach to enhance the patient experience and ensure the best treatment. One skill that’s crucial for all professionals is communication. As a vital component of healthcare, you should do everything you can to ensure your communication is clear so that patients know precisely what you mean.

Ask Questions 

Questions are a fantastic way to build rapport with your patients, but you can also use them to delve deeper into their issues and learn more about what they experience. Every professional should ask the foundation questions, such as pain level, lifestyle, and family history. However, you can also learn more about the patient by asking other questions that could lead you to potential causes. 

Use Language They Understand 

Although you know all the technical terms, your patients may not. Therefore, using plain and clear language is more effective to ensure they better understand what you are saying, whether discussing treatment options or highlighting why they are experiencing specific issues or conditions. You should also remember that, as some assume doctors don’t listen as much, patients can also switch off when you are describing everything in technical terms, so it is worth repeating yourself and confirming they understand precisely what you say so you can take the right action to help them recover. 

Educate Them 

Some patients may come into your office or practice assuming they know everything. They may have seen their condition on TV or have spent hours researching the cause of their discomfort. This can benefit you sometimes, but it’s a hindrance more often than not. As the expert, you are responsible for educating your patients and highlighting any misconceptions, such as debunking hearing aid myths, among other attitudes and opinions. Don’t lecture them, but be sure to clear up anything they say that you know is incorrect. 

Be Clear and Blunt, Not Harsh and Scary 

Any medical professional will agree that it can be tough to be brutally honest with patients, especially when they are suffering from terminal illnesses or have determined they are not going to recover. This issue concerns the ethics of truth-telling and how taking the wrong approach could be catastrophic. Like using language they can understand, professionals need to be clear and blunt without veering too far into terrifying territory that could cause the patient further distress. 

Share Your Reasoning 

You often know what’s best for the patient, but they (along with their family) may disagree with your diagnosis and treatment decision, which can cause friction. This issue is why sharing your reasoning and explaining how and why a specific route is the best approach can make a difference. You can also call specialists to provide their opinions and put any worries at ease so the patient can focus on getting better. 

Speaking Clearly

Communication is not just about saying what you mean. You also need to consider body language and adapt to each patient individually. This advice can help experienced and novice healthcare experts improve their approach to patients to ensure they are more understanding of their situation, condition, and options. 

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.