Personal Professional Healthcare Communication Paper
What is Healthcare Communication?
Communication can be generally defined and the method of imparting information from a source to targets. The process of sharing thus has its own set of rules and for human communication the written and spoken words are used. There is also a series of communication called non-verbal which is also significant. There are behaviors that show what a person thinks or feels is also communication. (Berry, 2007)
These types of communication applies in the health care settings too. Health communication may be defined as the study of the means of communication and its strategies not only to communicate to individuals but to the community thus creating decisions on health questions. Thus for the health service the communication within itself and the society concerned with individual and public health, is a very important field that requires specialization and research in medical information communication between the fraternity -- inter-organization communication and the communication where applicable to the individual and in most cases the providing of information that is useful in questions of public health. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011)
There has been forty years of research in the mechanics of medical communication but still there is no solution or explanation to the way the changing face of medical care is also changing the communicative methods of medical consultations. For one the health care provider and the patient communication depend largely on the skill understanding and the way the interaction between them goes, there is no researched data on how patient doctor communication actually goes on as of now. (Thompson; Dorsey; Miller; Parrott, 2003) This is a science in its rudimentary form still.
2. Relevancy of effective personal healthcare communication with other healthcare professionals, clients, patients
The exchange of information thus can be a transactional one -- that is between two or more individuals based on a topic or theme or it can be between masses or mass communication between two large groups as in the case of public health issues.4 In the medical communication these two types are used and both are at times coexisting and indistinguishable. Individual cases may also result in mass dissemination of information on health issues. Human communication processes are important and similar in all human interactions and the method is same for health communications. (Ray; Donohew, 1990) On account of its terminology and jargon filled means of communication within the medical professionals the communication with the lay persons and particularly the ill and its effects and the changes it can cause to individual and collective behavior have changed the perceptions of medical communication. (Ray; Donohew, 1990)
Further communication with the patient has its own requirements. In the health care environment for the patient's benefit sometimes the truth is concealed and such bad news is conveyed to the relatives rather than the patient. This tact is a part of the communication process that is well-meaning and to avoid shock. The problem is that eventually the patient comes to know of the truth and in that case the question is what must the position of the communicator be? (Thompson; Dorsey; Miller; Parrott, 2003)
To examine the types of communication that need be made, it is being segregated into -- factual, personal, interpretive and direct information. Direct information are those that can be settled by yes-no type of answers while factual truth is based on the listeners and the informers objectivity. Personal information is based on disclosures that are made. Lastly interpretation may be the way the information is processed. Thus the diagnosis would be a result of this kind of process. The interpretive truth is the type that results from interaction between the professionals and the patient and is the final situational analysis. (Thompson; Dorsey; Miller; Parrott, 2003)
Thus between doctors the communication is direct and necessary and between other health personnel and the doctors too it has to be so. However with the patient the problem is more difficult because always to an ailing person telling bitter truth while a must may not always be proper. The patient and his or her care givers ought to be given information in a non-jargon and simple setting, while all information ought to be conveyed they have to be conveyed at the appropriate time without malice.
3. Relevancy of effective professional healthcare communication to health outcomes
There is a great connection between the patient perceptions and reaction to the information that is obtained, and it can be shown that Patient -- professional communication can be very effective if done properly in the case of chronic illness. There is a very limited research done in this sphere and the effect health care communication and its effect in self-care management and coping with diseases is still not fully understood. Using a set of patients with end-stage renal disease -- ESRD, non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus -- NIDDM, multiple sclerosis -- MS, and fibromyalgia -- FM, a research showed that the courteous behavior of personnel and the general ability to communicate to the patients seem to show some effects. These were based on many other variables like other conventional treatments, and lifestyle of the patient all seemed to shape the health care communication. Thus such communication ought to be individualized centering on the patient to be effective and less discomfiting. (Thornea; Harrisb; Mahoneyc; Cona; McGuinnessa, 2004)
The problem at the moment is that the information requires the patient to be knowledgeable on many medical usages. This is daunting and fearful, leaving the person in doubt. Thus there is a need to convert documents and information to very plain language such that those with limited literacy skills, limited health literacy skills, can understand them either as patients, public interested in health care or care givers of patients. Health literacy pertains to an individual's ability to understand the basic health information and services and the required ability to process this information to make health decisions. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n. d.)
Thus some of the personal information may be shared with the service providers about health history and symptoms and the decisions that the individual makes regarding such concepts as healthy eating and exercise must be made with proper understanding and the fact that to some extent the communication if properly done also helps in the proper way of self-care and chronic-disease management. The patient would be able weigh the risks and benefits of treatment options and prevention strategies. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n. d.)
4. How the lack of effective personal and professional healthcare communications contributes to poor health outcomes
In defining health outcomes, we may say that there are many faces to it. There is the individual patient, the medical players, and more often the society which is involved in maintaining the health costs and care and the policies that have to be formulated to be effective. Thus communication is crucial to many entities. Communication on a broader scale is also important for the healthcare policy and the corporate players. When there is a crisis for example one of the parties is the Government that formulates policies and allocation and provision of services. The second is the need for service provider and other companies like pharmaceutics that need to improve quality and control the service or product based on the information. Thus not only patients and medical personnel but these actors along with a host of others like insurance, and competing healthcare organizations. (Diebold Institute for Public Policy Studies, 1995)
Though this is thus a very important subject, over the last ten years there has been attempts to develop healthcare communication standards and these are based mostly on computing technology and they have become interoperable method of communication and interpersonal communication between personnel and even institutions and there is open hospital information systems. These systems offer better method of accessing information for the personnel but is still bereft of the methodology of communication standards -- especially the absence of standardized terminology and the way the medical informatics is handled now leaves much to be desired. (Dudeck, 1998)
5. Theories and principles of therapeutic communication in health care settings for the healthcare professional
The medical professional has the duty to keep abreast with the evolving medical information that is changing and evolving. Along with that the professional has also the duty to see that the communication between their system and the patient is kept at peek levels. The medical information is complicated especially with a patient with multiple health problems and each of these may have difficult risks associated. There may be interaction of several layers of health care providers. Thus communication information about risk and uncertainty is a dangerous thing and difficult for health care professionals. The problem lies with the information that need be conveyed -- and the best way of conveying it and what effect it has on the patient. (Berry, 2007)
In planning a health communication therefore there are these aspects to consider: What…