- COVID-19 is helping break down barriers to clinical communication
- Maintaining connectedness and improving communication will be key to COVID-19 recovery
- Best practices guide healthcare organizations begin assessing and improving clinical communication
Healthcare leaders are still evaluating the wide-ranging impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but one thing has become clear – COVID-19 has broken down barriers to clinical communication and has led to increased connectedness.
This increased connectedness was highlighted during the Patient Experience Empathy & Innovation Summit, convened by The Cleveland Clinic and HIMSS in February. At the Summit, panelists described how the pandemic has brought teams together and broken down silos.
For example, Nicole Cable, chief experience officer at InnovaCare Health, discussed that silos are commonplace, but one of the best things to emerge from COVID-19 was that different people, from different markets, and different jobs came together to communicate and solve real problems.
This increased communication is something to be valued and retained as healthcare organizations continue to fight the pandemic, but also plan for future recovery.
Breaking Barriers to Communication was Key During the COVID-19 Pandemic
We all know that clear, expedient communication is critical in healthcare. Without it, clinical, operational, and financial outcomes are at risk. And, at a more granular level, it can quite literally be the difference between a life-saving action and a life-threatening mistake.
During this pandemic, clear communication has been essential as clinicians work under intense pressure and time constraints.
“Successful communication among health care team members was and continues to be paramount,” according to the AMA. “With it, teams can be dynamic and impactful as they collaborate to help patients recover. Without it, the results can be poor.”
Whether it’s conveying information within the hospital, communicating with patient families and care providers, or disseminating accurate information to the general public—clear, effective communication has been vital during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Building on Connectedness in a Post-Pandemic World
Today, we have hope with the increasingly successful distribution of new vaccines, but the world is still fighting COVID-19. Clinicians soldier on, fueled by dedication and, for many, an increased sense of connection with their fellow team members.
One lesson many health leaders are learning from the pandemic is the value of being more transparent with their employees and breaking down barriers to clinical communication.
The question for many, however, will be how? How can we now, and in a post-pandemic world, break barriers to clinical communication?
As recently discussed, the first step is to understand exactly how your organization is currently failing to communicate. This assessment is most effectively done by an interdisciplinary committee. Then, after this assessment, healthcare organizations will be adequately informed to consider existing communication partners and their ability to break existing barriers to clinical communication.
This framework will make the process of improving clinical communication and maintaining connectedness more manageable during and after this pandemic.