Communication Problems and Medical Errors

Residents in New Mexico should be able to trust that the information given to them by their doctors, pharmacists and other health care providers is always accurate and in their best interest. However, that is sadly not always the case. The fact of the matter remains that medical professionals can and do make mistakes. Even worse, these mistakes can and do contribute to patient harm. Many of these mistakes involve poor communication.

Communication seems like it should be one of the simplest things for the medical community to get right, yet the facts clearly show otherwise. According to one report published by the National Institutes of Health, communication either between clinicians or between clinicians and patients is the biggest contributing factor to medical errors today.

Becker’s Hospital Review provided an overview of the results of a pilot study program in which a new communication system was evaluated. Three months down the road, preventable adverse events were found to have dropped by nearly 38% when the new system was properly instituted and executed. While these results identify the positive impact a chance may make, the fact that such a change was possible highlights the problem that exists requiring such a change.

There seems to be no shortage of technology-based communication platforms today. From email to secure patient portals to electronic medical records and more, the health care community leverages a range of tools to document patient information and records. However, some experts point out that these tools themselves can often be a big stumbling block to effective communication because many of them do not communicate with each other.

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