The effectiveness of clinical communication depends on shared purpose and relationships. While tools and technologies can expedite access to the right person at the right time, the human connection between people will color the quality and efficacy of their communication regardless of the tool. While policies and protocols may define certain procedural aspects of communication, people and their trust and respect for one another will shape the tone, clarity, and completeness of a clinical exchange.
In clinical communication, as in so much of healthcare, human experience is paramount. The relationships team members foster with one another, the respect and transparency leaders instill in their culture, and the ways that individual clinicians safeguard the healing connections they share with patients and families are as important as any policy, protocol, or technology
Framework for Effective Human-Centered Clinical Communication
What we learned through our research led us to create a framework for effective, human-centered clinical communication. It includes seven elements.
1 Shared Purpose
An understanding all people share about why they should communicate effectively as part of a commitment to delivering exceptional human-centered care (Shared purpose forms the backbone upon which all communication components are built.)
2. Attention to Personal & Interpersonal Dynamics:
Continual attention to and compassion for the factors unique to each person, the dynamics existing between people that affect how information is exchanged, and the cognitive and emotional context for communication
3. Healing-Focused Content & Context
The information people need to achieve a human-centered outcome, and the context that gives that information meaning and relevance.
4. Situational Awareness
Thoughtful consideration people give to factors about a situation or task that dictate what information they and others need, when they need it, and how to prioritize competing demands.
5. Human-Centered Communication Ecosystem
Purposeful design of the environment (physical space, technology, etc.) that contributes to how people can fully participate in human-centered communication, including the availability of resources people need to make communication effective.
6. Respectful Communication Mode
Selection of the communication mode (in-person, video, voice, etc.) that is best suited to the informational and interpersonal needs of people participating in communication
7. System Standards for Optimal Communication
The rules, processes, norms, and other factors that influence people’s behavior to maximize the likelihood of effective, human-centered communication taking place.
System standards provide structure for the communication components