January 2, 2016

Excellent Tips on Patient and Employee Communication

Why would the Center for Healthcare Communication want to confuse the issue on improving patient and employee engagement. When it comes to communication, even the most sincere organizations cannot communicate and try to cloud the issue. What I do not understand is why communication is so utterly impossible and why they need to confuse the issue by using other terms to hide behind.

If they would use the tips they have promoted for engagement and apply them to honest communications, they could improve their organization dramatically.
This is obviously written for doctors and the way they should treat patients. The second part is also for doctors and how they should treat their employees.

#1. “Patients expect doctors to be nice. When they enter a healthcare facility, they expect people to be pleasant and friendly. Does this create good experiences? Yes. Does this create great experiences? Not necessarily. To create great experiences, you must exceed expectations. Here are some ways to exceed expectations.
  • Use empathy. Everyone always talks about empathy, but not many people consistently use this powerful tool. Stop the talking, start the doing!
  • Use the patient's preferred name. How do you know the desired name? Ask!
  • Do something special. For example, if a patient feels anxious, together take a few deep breaths with him or her. Patients do not expect this behavior from a professional, so you have created an exceptional experience.
  • Ask the patient his or her goals. Many healthcare professionals are busy telling the patient their suggested medical plan without asking the patient what they actually want.”
#2. “At a recent healthcare meeting, I spoke to an attendee and asked her a question about the hospital where she is employed. She said, "I'm not sure about that topic, I am just one of their nurses." JUST one of their nurses? It is obvious how she feels about her role in the hospital. To avoid the "just" comments, make employees feel a part of the organization rather than apart from the organization. Top tips to help:
  • Involve staff in the early stages of any new initiative as opposed to telling them about it after you have made all the decisions.
  • Constantly survey employees. Get their feedback on everything.
  • Focus on encouraging, not discouraging. If an employee has a suggestion that you don't feel will work, do not brush him or her off. Say to the person, for example, "Thank you for the suggestion. We tried that last year and unfortunately, it was not successful. However, I would like to hear your spin on it."
Yes, positive communications are important and will often put patients at ease and make office staff more attentive. Communications make an office more positive and this will reflect in the staff communications with patients. It is my hope that the term engagement will be relegated to talking about what happens to young couples in contemplation of marriage.

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