Engaging patients through effective communication

Handshake-With-DoctorGood communication between health professionals and patients is essential for high-quality health care.

According to the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) patient experience survey, communication with physicians ranked fifth out of eight categories in terms of correlation with overall patient satisfaction.1

However, today, finding an effective communication to align the physician-patient relationship has become a serious challenge.

Due to a lack of familiarity with medical terminologies and poor health literacy, patients find it difficult to understand and follow basic health information given to them by a healthcare provider.

Time constraints deprive the physician and staff of having meaningful conversations with their patients. As reported by the Times of India, the “World Medicines Situation 2011” report published by the WHO said that doctors in developing countries, on average, spend less than 60 seconds in prescribing medicines and explaining the regimen to their patients.2

Patient complaints about health professionals frequently focus, not on a lack of clinical competence per se, but rather on a perceived failure of communication and an inability to adequately convey a sense of care.3

A large number of patients leave the consultation without asking questions about things that are troubling them or do not receive what they regard as a satisfactory response.4

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