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Using communication to prevent medical malpractice

Even though incidents of medical malpractice may vary in regards to what actually happened, many of these situations have one thing in common: communication was lacking. Health care professionals in West Virginia must communicate with each other and streamline their efforts to disseminate information between parties in a way that is concise and thorough.

Poor communication almost immediately threatens the safety of patients if their doctor has received incorrect information or misunderstood facts about the patient and his or her medical history and condition. According to the New York Times, if people are concerned about the lack of communication they are feeling with their health care provider, they are better off finding someone new to see. Positive communication requires doctors to listen to their patients, encourage dialogue, answer questions and ask for frequent feedback.

WebMD shared that one survey produced less-than-satisfactory results when findings showed that only 21 percent of the people surveyed felt that their doctor had succeeded in taking the time to discuss their concerns with them. Some of the ways that patients can prepare for their appointment and come ready to communicate with their doctor include the following:

  • They can ask someone they trust to accompany them to their appointment and to act as an advocate during moments when they may not know what to say.
  • They should compile a list of concerns they have about their condition, as well as questions they may have about their treatment options.
  • They should participate in opportunities given them to provide feedback about their visit. If this information is not requested, they should make an effort to express their concerns to the office if they have an unpleasant experience.

Patients should also be detailed in disclosing details about their medical history to their doctor. They should be aware of the medications they are taking, allergies they have and any other valuable information that their health care provider should be aware of. Doctors are very busy and sometimes the time they spend with a patient is too limited. If you go prepared to your visits and ask the questions that concern you the communication will be better for you, better for the doctor and better for your healthcare.

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