ED Volume Hinders Effective Communication

August 7, 2013 | Strategic Insights for Health System


Multiple modes of communication are best used appropriately in the emergency department (ED), where volume can be overwhelming and hinder spoken communication, according to an article in the June 2013 issue of the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. The high decibel level of ambient noise, the quantity of patients requiring care, and the amount of information juggled by healthcare providers in the ED all contribute to breakdowns in communication that result in risk of error. The authors of the article suggest that ED staff and leadership examine their communication methods in different scenarios to determine what is most effective. They look at three methods of communication: oral (e.g., face-to-face communication), written (e.g., text message, e-mail, written orders), and signaled (e.g., passing the chart to another caregiver).

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