In healthcare settings, communication channels and strategies vary depending on whether it is a hospital or a specialty clinic office. Regardless, both use standard communication methods such as faxing, emails, referrals, telecommunication, and face-to-face consultations.
The healthcare industry is currently faced with the challenge of balancing cost and effective communication. Patients are seeking affordable care and improved communication, while organizations are looking for innovative communication technology to enhance the quality of care provided. In the writer’s workplace, East Central Regional Hospital (ECRH), communication plays a critical role in daily operations. Effective communication is essential as it can determine the success or failure of patient outcomes, considering the impact on individuals’ well-being.
Telecommunications in hospital settings and specialty clinics are employed to facilitate clear understanding and accurate interpretation of important medical terminology and findings among staff members. The East Coast Regional Hospital (ECRH) utilizes faxing as a means of obtaining and sharing essential medical or policy-related information, ensuring all affected individuals are well-informed about any changes. It has been reported by members of the specialty clinic team that faxing serves as a crucial method for exchanging medical information about patients between clinics or for acquiring necessary details to carry out required procedures.
Both ECRH and specialty clinics have access to different communication channels, including intra and internet. The intranet is used within both organizations for inter-departmental communication. The internet is utilized by both organizations to respond to external agencies, such as returning messages or obtaining necessary information. Additionally, face-to-face consultations are employed to convey information through meetings, ensuring accurate relay of information to either a large group or individuals.
The differences in communication channels between large scale hospitals and specialty clinics in smaller settings are significant. In smaller clinics, communication is more personal, constant, and immediate on a daily basis. On the other hand, in large scale hospitals, the level of communication may not be as personal due to the higher volume of patient care required. While large hospitals provide the necessary quality of care, they cannot dedicate as much time to communication as smaller clinics can.
Even though ECRH utilizes email, faxes, telecommunication, and intra and internets, response times are often longer. On the other hand, clinics provide instant or timely information to individuals. However, when it comes to obtaining information from external agencies within the hospital, delays and inconsistencies are common. Overall, workplace communications are heading towards a new era with exciting changes (source: www. toshibabusiness. com).
One era of changes in hospitals and clinics that can improve their operations are the new Tablet PC’s. As healthcare delivery advances, it is crucial for technology to advance as well (www. toshibabusiness. com). Some advantages of the Tablet PC’s include the ability to enter data just once, eliminating the need for transcribing. This can result in faster service for patients and decrease errors, potentially saving money. Additionally, patient information is read and written securely, ensuring privacy. Furthermore, the clear display of information promotes effective medical communication and aids patients in better comprehending their condition.
Individuals in workplaces can enhance their communication skills by attending classes and staying updated on current workplace procedures (Coiera, Enrico, Tombs, Vanessa, and Gosbee, 1998). According to a study conducted in a hospital setting, communication behaviors play a crucial role in the workplace (BMJ, 1998). Additionally, the use of Tablet PCs has made a significant impact on hospitals and doctors’ offices (Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., 2006).