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Communication Techniques for Medical Errors

Majority of the medical errors arise due to communication problems during doctor or nurse shift change. The journal explains that hospitals do not have proper arrangements to facilitate these transfers. This result into misdiagnosis of some illness leading to a wrong medication given to a patient or carrying out patient resuscitation when not required. To address this problem, hospitals are required to outline procedures and standards for patient transfers between different doctors or nurses. A communication model that provides patient information to the incoming doctor or nurse comes in handy here.

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Many hospitals are developing new communication standards to reduce the number of errors that occur during the shift changes. One way of reducing these medical errors is through development and implementation of proper communication models by hospitals to facilitate the transfer of patient information between different doctors or nurses in the shortest time possible. An example is the Kaiser Permanente’s model that allows communication within 60 seconds.

Other formalized methods of communication between doctors include the Situation, Background, Assessment and Recommendation (SBAR) model that was implemented at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in 2004 and consequently led to a decline in medical errors. The model gives the background information of the patient, the doctor’s assessment of the condition and the doctor’s recommendations regarding the condition. This is important information for the doctor who continues with further treatment of the patient to be able to provide correct medications. Moreover, doctors need to keep regular medical records of a patient to enable other doctors to continue with treatment incase the regular doctor is unavailable.

Other strategies to reduce medical errors include online programs offered by The University Health System Consortium that entails guidelines for the implementation of SBAR situational communication technique. It also offers programs aimed at improving hands-off communication among medical practitioners. The Joint Commission on accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) issues the standards and accredits health care organizations that comply with these standards. This move is important to ensure that hospitals adhere to safety standards including making proper shift-change arrangements in order to minimize the number of medical errors.

In conclusion, the development and implementation of proper communication techniques between medical practitioners help to reduce medical errors in hospitals. This facilitates the transfer of patient details that are important in patient treatment either within the same hospital or in other hospitals.

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