By Liz Boehm, Vocera
“The number one problem with communication in healthcare is that people ask things like, ‘is there blood in your urine?’ Patients say no, because they think they’re supposed to see literal blood. Doctors need to ask this in a much simpler way, such as, ‘Is your urine any color other than clear or pale yellow?’ We don’t like to talk about gross things. That’s something that happened with my husband, Fred. They just checked the box and ruled out cancer. He had orange urine for a year. But he didn’t know that meant blood in his urine. He made the assumption that he wasn’t drinking enough water. He knew his urine could get darker if he was dehydrated or if he ate different things.”
This is the beginning of a story Regina Holliday shared in a new report from The Experience Innovation Network, part of Vocera. Regina is a patient activist and artist, and founder of the Walking Gallery of Healthcare. The report is called Clinical Communication Deconstructed: A framework for successful, human-centered clinical communication.
In creating the report, we examined clinical communication extensively, from every angle. We reviewed scores of academic studies. We spoke with experts in clinical communication, current leaders and frontline practitioners in clinical practice, and – of course – patients.
Our efforts uncovered numerous challenges as well as promising solutions and innovative protocols to promote effective clinical communication.