Health care professionals need to understand how to communicate effectively with patients, as the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) has reported.
The journal published the findings, which were based on a study of medical communication programs across the US.
As many as 10% of patients with chronic illnesses were receiving a “messaging failure,” meaning they could not communicate effectively to healthcare professionals, and this was a key barrier to their care, the journal said.
The research was conducted in conjunction with the American Association of Health Communication Professionals (AAHC), the National Medical Association, the Society for Healthcare Communication, the Association of Professional Journalists, the Communication Research Group, and the Society of Information Scientists and Engineers.
“This is a really important area of research, because there is an urgent need to help patients with communication issues understand their own limitations and potential for communication failure,” Dr. James Schreiber, a member of the AAHC and the senior research fellow at the Center for Communication and Digital Health at Johns Hopkins University, said in a statement.
The findings also suggest that communication and social media platforms should consider adding features to help ensure patients can communicate effectively, including better use of the right word and body language, as well as a new way to respond to patients’ questions, according to the journal.
While there are already a variety of communication tools on the market, it is crucial that providers understand how they can effectively communicate with patients and make decisions on how best to address their communication needs, said Dr. John Karpinski, director of communication research at the University of Minnesota.
“We’re seeing this in the digital space in a lot of ways, but it’s particularly important to recognize that we are not only talking to our patients about health, we’re talking to them about their lives,” Karpinksis said.