Communication Errors in Healthcare

Communication Errors in Healthcare

Types of Communication Errors in the Medical Field

Communication is key. This is true of all of life but especially of a setting where the patient’s life hangs in the balance. The process of obtaining medical care has many parties involved and communication may fail or delay between any one of them.

There are two main types of communication errors, provider-to-provider and provider-to-patient.
Provider-to-provider communication errors include:

  • Miscommunication about the patient’s condition
  • Poor documentation
  • Failure to read the patient’s medical record

In comparison, examples of provider-to-patient communication errors include:

  • Inadequate education with regards to medication
  • Failure to respond appropriately to a patient’s complaint
  • Miscommunication regarding informed consent
  • Incomplete follow-up
  • No or wrong test results given to patient
  • Miscommunication or failure to communicate due to language barrier

As patients, we have a reasonable expectation of proper care when submitting to treatment by a physician. This is known as the standard of care and failure to meet that standard is becoming increasingly due to a breakdown in communication that originates from the provider.

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