The Impacts of Communication in Healthcare
Ineffective team communication is the primary cause of errors in the medical field. A plethora of evidence depicts adverse events that occur as a result of errors that occur at alarmingly high rates, particularly in the patient setup. In most cases, the main contributors to these errors are ineffective or impediments to effective communication among the involved parties. The majority of the time, this is because of a failure to properly communicate (Leonard, 2014). A similar study emphasizes the role of ineffective communication in error formation. The report cited “communication difficulties at all levels of the hospitals, including doctors to doctors, doctors to nurses, nurses to nurses as well as nurses to doctors” as being the underlying factors that contribute to the death of a majority of the pediatric patients (Leonard, 2014). The project’s primary goal is to identify ineffective communication features, particularly in healthcare, and classify their consequences.
According to Heisler (2012), teamwork rather than individual effort is required in modern healthcare. This necessitates the collaboration of professionals from all relevant disciplines. However, a large body of evidence indicates that these much-needed changes have not been incorporated and supported by radical changes in systems for effective communication among healthcare practitioners, particularly across all fields. There is a link between ineffective inter-professional teamwork and compromised patient needs, staff tension and distress, and inefficient service delivery. Similarly, the project will emphasize the benefits of having an active communication channel in place that aims to share clinical information between healthcare professionals. It will also highlight visible evidence of inter-professional information sharing as well as the challenges encountered in healthcare communication. The project will also highlight the importance of communication in healthcare. Though the emphasis will be on hospital-based scenarios, the lessons learned can also be applied to other healthcare settings.
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Effective Healthcare Team Characteristics
Leonard (2014) developed a model involving five key dimensional areas in effective teams after a thorough examination of the critical factors that influence team performance in the majority of fields: effective team leadership, routine performance monitoring, behavior backup, adaptability, and team orientation. All of these factors are coordinated by total trust mechanisms, effective communication, and shared intelligence models.
Leadership entails a variety of factors such as team coordination, task coordination, supervision, planning, and team motivation in order to increase productivity and create a favorable environment in which to carry out daily routines (Atherton et al., 2012). The monitoring of a team is made possible by the availability of a team leader, as well as the availability of a team leader. This has the advantage of making it easier to identify laxity, lapses, or even work overload among employees. Understanding other employees’ tasks that translate to enabling supportive actions to be administered by team members is critical for backup behavior. Workload redistribution or support may be included in such activities.
Adaptability enables a team to effectively respond to any changes that may occur in the environment, as well as to accommodate the needs of the patients (Zwarenstein, 2009). It will be effective in that the patients’ needs will not be altered in any way, resulting in effective patient management. Team orientation entails and incorporates the need to consider the ideas and perspectives of other members of staff. The belief is that the team’s objectives and goals should be aligned with the patient’s well-being because it is more critical and important than personal goals.
To achieve these five critical dimensions of effective teams, all employees must completely trust and respect one another in order to provide and receive feedback on their performance (Free et al., 2013). Members must also be skilled communicators in order to effectively convey their information. Similarly, sharing a mental model is critical. A shared mental model has been termed to be one of the critical underpinning factors that contribute to effective teamwork and in particular in healthcare. Mental models facilitate mutual understanding of all situations, treatment intentions, and the duties and roles of all team members. There will also be anticipatory needs, identification of changes in the clinical scenario, and adjusting strategies as needed. According to Zwarenstein (2009), without this critical mental model, the team’s various members cannot fully contribute to problem solving or decision making. Useful information sharing among team members is a key requirement for enacting and developing a mutual mental model that will lead to effective team performance.
Healthcare Teams Face a Challenge in Sharing Information
Some scenarios depict a variety of issues that healthcare providers face as a result of communication breakdowns among staff members. A meta-analysis involving several fields, for example, found that information sharing has a positive correlation with team performance. There are numerous interfaces where information must be transmitted between members of the healthcare team for effective and safe patient care. There has been an inadequacy in information sharing in context interfaces such as transfers between departments, extreme-acuity settings such as emergency departments or even operating rooms, sharing of critical information across inter-professionals, and ineffective patient handover during shift changes (Heisler, 2012).