Bridging the communication gap between patients and using electronic health records, or EHRs, during their visit is another challenge we all face. We’ve moved to an age of technology — which has, in a way, dehumanized communication. While the EHR has proved to benefit patient safety, a lot of challenges come with it as well. Care teams also used to have more face-to-face encounters or person-to-person phone calls. Now? We are losing these interactions by ending electronic messages because they’re faster and easier. And when providing care, it’s easy for patients to feel like we are paying more attention to our computers and devices and not to them. The EHR is not going away: We have to work together to figure out the most effective ways to communicate better, both with each other and with our patients again.
How do we do this? We have to go back to the basics that we all learned in medical school to help us connect and relate in a more personal and attentive
manner. Ask your patients open-ended questions. Acknowledge, state or restate what you are hearing from them. Sometimes, a patient’s goal has nothing to do with what we think it does. Ask your patients what they hope to achieve. Take that information and share it with the rest of their care team. Be an advocate and liaison. Let’s bridge the communication gap together.
In this edition of The Q Report, we are highlighting how communication among providers and care teams is critical to patient safety and quality care. We are also recapping Patient Safety and Quality Week. I hope after you read these stories, you will be able to better answer: How can I help improve communication at UF Health?