Healthcare Communication

Healthcare communication involves an effective line of communication between medical professionals, clients and the patient. An essential component of patient healthcare providers’ communication is the ability to provide information that can improve patient understanding. Effective communication between patients and healthcare providers is a critical element to quality healthcare (Markova and Broome, 2007).

Effective personal healthcare communication should be an important practice between healthcare professionals, clients and patients. Many factors affect personal care, such as the personal characteristics, past experiences, attitudes, values, and biases. Activities can be conducted in order to promote a physician’s awareness such as support groups and discussions. The healthcare professional that is aware of patients’ attitudes, behaviors and beliefs that may influence patient care that can help clinicians improve the quality of care. Professionals have to face many challenges that may affect the quality of healthcare such as ethnic, racial and the backgrounds of patients. Healthcare communication should also include empathy and understanding when interacting with the patient. The best way to achieve effective communication is to make sure that plenty of feedback is given from the person receiving the information. Professionals should analyze if the client can comprehend and understand the message that was given. Nurses and physicians should learn the aspects of each culture which can influence a medical encounter.

Professional healthcare communication can also be accomplished by conducting interviews for the sake of the patient, family, nurses and physicians. Conducting interviews helps to establish accurate information about their condition. The professionals can take into account the psychosocial aspects of the patient’s problems. There must be an open line of communication between professionals and patients so for a better understanding the history of the patient such as family, environment, occupation and education level. Healthcare professional should also be prepared for non English speaking clients and patients. Studies have shown that many patients feel more comfortable speaking about their health problem through a language interpreter.

Effective professional healthcare communication can increase the health outcomes of a patient. A plethora of guidelines can be used to accomplish effective healthcare communication. Health care providers must first exercise the emotion of empathy and understanding to the patient’s condition. Feedback is an essential tool to determining whether there is a clear understanding between the professionals and the client. When an open line of communication exists between professionals, there is a clear understanding of the patient’s condition and background. Professionals can use critical thinking and agree on certain procedures that can affect the patient. Effective communication can improve the patient’s satisfaction, understanding of treatment and disease treatment outcomes.

The abstinence of effective personal and professional healthcare communications can lead to poor health outcomes. In order for there to be effective personal and professional communication between the healthcare professionals and clients, there must be consideration for patients who are low literate and face many obstacles when reading healthcare information. The complex process of reading can be categorized into five steps; input, decoding, encoding, output and feedback. The healthcare provider should be able to recognize the sensory input level of the patient. Health literacy is one of the risk factors for the patient not comprehending and resuming poor health knowledge. Effective communication can improve outcome measures such as patient satisfaction, adherence to treatment, and disease treatment outcomes (Stewart, 1995). Patients and clients who have low health literacy are more likely to have increased rates of hospitalizations, health care costs, noncompliance with medication, medication instructions, depression and complications with diabetes. Healthcare providers can break this barrier by providing the patient with nonmedical terms, pictures and diagrams.

The whole purpose of therapeutic communication is to improve the client’s ability to function (Forchuk, C., Westwall, J., Martin, M., (2000). A professional should plan to interview at an appropriate time frame. A professional should not talk to a client during visiting hours, during change of shift or if the client is distracted by outside influences. Another principle of therapeutic communication is to assure privacy. The majority of clients believe that their personal information is confidential. This can be established by closing the door to the room or by asking family members and friends for personal space for the client. Establish guidelines for the therapeutic interaction. When a professional first comes into contact with the patient, they should share their name and the purpose of the interaction and assure confidentiality to the client. The professional should establish a high comfort level for the client. Always accept the patient and practice being non-judgmental. This can be displayed by showing empathy and validation. The principles and theories of therapeutic communication can promote understanding of the client’s feelings and emotions.

In order to maintain and practice effective primary care, there must be effective personal and professional communication with other professionals, clients and patients. The lack of effective personal and professional communication can contribute to poor health outcomes. The principles and theories of therapeutic communication can establish specific guidelines for professionals to handle in order to gain client satisfaction. The most important rule of effective communication is to make sure that the professional has a clear understanding of the patient’s background, culture, education level, occupation and beliefs. Learning this information can break many barriers when applying effective healthcare communication. Professionals must make sure that they are open to the client so that the client can feel comfortable and develop a human relationship with the professional.


Tsveti Markova, Barbara Broome (2007) Urologic Nursing. Portland: Vol. 27, Iss. 3; pg.
239, 4 pgs

Stewart, M.A. (1995). Effective physician patient communication and health outcomes: A
review. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 152(9), 1423-1433.
Book, Title; The developing nurse-client relationship: Nurses’ perspectives”

Forchuk, C., Westwall, J., Martin, M., (2000). The developing nurse-client relationship: Nurses’
perspectives. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 6(1), 3-10.