Communication Accountability

You can tell I am on the road since I am reading USToday. But, it always has some great pieces.

Yesterday (7/25/07) there is an article titled “Communication is now part of the cure” by Erin Donaghue. It has several great points:

  1. It talks about a true patient advocacy organization called Bedside Advocates. They help guide patients through the system. (much needed)
  2. It talks about the fact that many people are afraid to ask their doctor questions. I think this is much more prevalent in the 65+ age group where they were taught to respect doctors versus younger generations that are more willing to challenge those in a position of authority.
  3. It talks about the National Institute for Patient Rights and a book called 3 Secrets Hospitals Don’t Want You to Know: How to Empower Patients.
  4. The fact that CMS is linking a portion of funding to patient satisfaction scores as part of the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Health Providers and Systems which will begin to make them accountable for communications. (For example…”During this hospital stay, how often did doctors listen carefully to you?”)

This all seems like a good first step. Communications are a challenge in any industry, but healthcare has lots of people providing you with carefully reviewed information as to avoid lawsuits. Navigating that requires information and lots of questions. This is where the industry will begin to change, but it is both systemic and cultural. Neither are simple.

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