Health Care Communications Methods
In the health care industry there are several different ways to communicate. We must communicate with the doctors, nurses, care givers, patients and their family, guardian or representative. There are formal and informal ways of communication, as well as verbal and nonverbal ways to communicate. There are advantages and disadvantages to all of these communication choices, and HIPAA of 1996 regulates all of the information and the degree of how it is communicated and to whom it is communicated. There are several different types of communication methods that can be used when transferring information. There is verbal and nonverbal communication. Verbal communication would include things like speaking face to face, or when you are using the telephone, which is another great way to use verbal communication. Some other types of verbal communications would be the telemedicine; this is the clinics adoption of things like voice mail. According to a study done by NIH 50% of communication done in a clinical setting is done face to face while the other 25% is done through email and 25% is done through voice mail. (Tang, 1996). While according to another study 50% of all communications done in a hospital setting is done face to face with the patient themselves (Touissant, 2005).
When you are communicating using nonverbal communication, would be when you are communicating through sign language, eye contact, body language, hand written communication, emails, fax’s and text messaging. With these types of communication there is always room for potential errors to occur, due to typing errors, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors “If information is the lifeblood of healthcare then communications system is the heart that pumps it” (Lang, 1978). The communication process is made up of the people sending and receiving the message. The communication channel is quote the pipe that the message travels on. As the administrator of a small local nursing home I have just received information that a large national group is purchasing our small establishment. This is going to pose several challenges because many of my patients either have trouble communicating, either because of health reasons or the fact they cannot understand, I have a lady that does not speak a bit of English, and she is deaf.
This poses a big problem because I will need to get a Spanish speaking person that knows how to use sign language in Spanish. For my patients that do not have any family in the local area I will have to send out written notification to their family members last known address and request the mail to be forwarded. I will try to use any email addresses that the family or guardians have left for us to use in case of an emergency. It is a possibility to use social media like face book and twitter to put out a message regarding the nursing home being sold and the patients being displaced but there is only a limited amount of information we can put on the interned due to the HIPAA and the protected medical health records (duPre, 2005). The information used in the social media sites must be general in nature only, no names or personal information can be released or that would be a violation of the HIPAA privacy act which would come with sanctions and fines that the nursing home cannot afford, especially now, the last thing we need is negative publicity.
With all communication there are advantages and disadvantages, some of the advantages of using social media like face book and twitter would be the fact that you can reach hundreds, thousands even millions of people with only one post on the social media sites. Some of the disadvantages of using social media sites are the restrictions and lack of detail we are able to use when referencing the patients. Some of the family members have not seen their family in several years and it is possible without a name they may not even know that the message would or could pertain to them or their family because it has been so long since they have had any contact with them.
In conclusion there are many different ways to communicate in the health care industry, there are verbal and nonverbal communications, and there are formal and informal ways of communication. We can communicate face to face, over the phone, via email, voice mail, face book and twitter. The HIPAA privacy act of 1996 protects and regulates the way we disclose the protected medical information about our patients. When communicating information over the internet through face book, twitter and other social media sites there are specific protocol that must be followed on order to protect the privacy of our patients protected medical records.
Tang, P.C.,(1996) Clinical information activities in diverse ambulatory care practices. Falls Surp. PubMed . Touissant, P.J. (2005). Supporting communications in health care. Boston, PubMed. duPre, A. (2005). Communicating about health care. Current issues and perspectives (2nd ed.). Boston, McGraw Hill. Hicks, N.J. & Nicols, C.M. (2012). Health industry communication. New media, new method, new message, Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning