Communication is an effective and foremost skill that all healthcare professionals require. However, not all professionals are good at communication skills. Communication skills are required since these medical professionals interact with thousands of people and patients in their day-to-day lives. These people come from different social, cultural, and educational backgrounds. So if you are thinking about developing communication skills to work in the healthcare sector, you need to know the following details. 

Communication skills allow you to stand out from other healthcare professionals. It also helps to know why mastering interpersonal skills are important in your day-to-day life. Following are the guidelines and ways to improve communication skills that will help you work in healthcare.

What Communication Skills are Required in Healthcare? 

Medical institutions practice two types of communication for improving communication skills. It includes-

  • Interhospital Communication

    This type of communication takes place between many hospitals and medical clinics. Different information and details are exchanged among hospitals in this form of communication. For example-

  • Moving important healthcare equipment
  • Sending important medical files of patients
  • Transfer of patients from one hospital to other
  • It needs clear and effective communication between experienced healthcare professionals. Inadequate communication will bring more challenges and increase costs. Effective and clear communication helps professionals save their efforts, time, and money. 

  • Intrahospital Communication

    Intrahospital communication results from communication between healthcare professionals working in a single medical institution. For instance- scheduling patient appointments, assignment of exams, setting up surgeries, coordination for changes in the room are examples of intrahospital communication. Inadequate communication decreases the efficiency of the healthcare system and results in increasing the cost and causing more risk to the patients. Lack of effective communication will cause- delay in patient records, medical issues, and problems in procedural coordination.

    Importance of Clear Communication Skills in Healthcare 

    While entering a healthcare setting, patients usually remain emotionally fatigued and go through a lot of emotional trauma, anger, and other emotions. So healthcare professionals need to take care of them and understand things through effective communication. Effective communication can be termed a defense mechanism that helps them cope with the new situation. 

  • Understanding Patient's Needs and Conditions.

    Healthcare professionals like nurses and doctors provide patient care by assessing, understanding, and evaluating patients' conditions. They need to maintain effective communication with their patients. Doctors also check for personal details like lifestyle, family background, habits, and medical history. Effective communication helps in understanding your patient’s health issues. You have to communicate with them, know about their condition, and listen to them carefully. In this way, you get critical information that can cure them easily. Nurses bridge gaps between healthcare members and patients. Therefore, quality communication and interaction help in offering the best healthcare.

  • Know About Patient’s Emotional State of Mind

    Communication helps in making important decisions on treatment plans easier and smoother. The quality of communication with patients helps you understand their situation better and creates a good impact on them. This is true for emotional and physical well-being. The nurse can offer better patient care if they communicate with them better. Your communication with your patients will provide important information about their long-term treatment and health.

  • Understand the Age and Gender of Patients

    Healthcare professionals have to deal with patients having different gender and age. Communication plays a key role in understanding the behavior of patients of different ages. For instance, behavior of a teenager is different from that of an adult. Similarly, doctors need to understand the psychology of children very carefully, which is possible through communication.

  • Understand your Patients

    Communication skills are the foremost thing to interact with patients and understand them. Unless you interact and communicate with them, you can’t treat them properly. Doctors need to maintain clear communication with both male and female patients. So they need to have good knowledge about effective communication. 

  • The Realization of Social Determinants

    Social determinants cause an impact on health. It also includes other environmental, social, and physical conditions that affect a patient's health. Socioeconomic challenges tend to affect the physical condition. This includes unemployment, poverty, lack of education, and food insecurity. All these conditions harm the health of a patient. So, it becomes highly important to communicate with patients effectively to understand and realize the type of social determinant. Through effective communication, you can help your patients improve their overall health.

  • Tracking Modifications in Patient Care

    The patient gets the best benefits when the nurse communicates with patients effectively. Communication results in better targeting of clinical strategies that let the doctor track patients' improvements quickly and in real-time. Nurses are also required to be good listeners, apart from good communicators. Patients can have physical distress, which can be removed through proper interaction. So as a healthcare provider, check your patients and take away their nervousness through appropriate interaction.

  • Creates Synergy

    Communication plays a dominant role in developing synergy in hospitals or other medical care units. In many cases, patient care is delivered by online healthcare professionals like nurses and doctors. So this requires effective communication between healthcare providers, doctors, and nurses. Nurses need to report to the doctors about patients' medical and health conditions from time to time. Similarly, doctors also have to communicate and instruct the nurses about managing the patient's health condition. 

  • Detecting the Special Needs of Patients

    Patients’ needs are beyond their medical needs. For instance, some patients can have special dietary requirements or religious beliefs. So being a healthcare professional, you need to communicate with your patients properly, which also helps in the delivery of quality healthcare. Effective communication helps meet patients' needs timely without compromising their medical care. 
    Healthcare professionals differ in their perspectives towards communication. Some professionals are good listeners, while some are good communicators. Some provides detailed information about medical condition and plans. Communication is a must for anyone who wants to work in this sector.

    Components of Communication Skills 

    Effective communication that is required in the medical profession are-

  • Verbal Communication

    One important key of communication is verbal communication. You need to speak with accuracy, clarity, and honesty with your patients.

  • Nonverbal Communication

    This type of communication includes voice tone, facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, and body language, which you use for interacting with patients. For e.g. be attentive while dealing with patients and use polite body language.

  • Active Listening

    Listening and paying attention to patients helps to develop trust between you and your patient. For e.g. don’t interrupt while your patient is speaking. 

  • Written Communication

    This way of communication requires you to update and create your patient’s medical records and protect their confidentiality. For eg keep updated medical records and use simple language.

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    Author's Bio: 

    Dr Santosh Guptha, CEO – MEDESUN is a dynamic leader in Healthcare Information Management, an expert in the field of coding analysis, EM auditing, and ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-AM Coding with a career span of more than a decade. He was instrumental in developing various ICD-10 coding tools, guides and has authored various ICD-10 training programs, blockchain technology in healthcare etc. Dr.Santosh Guptha has extensive knowledge in all areas of HIPAA, privacy and security, and the application of HIPAA requirements in physician’s offices and facilities settings.