No matter the industry or the situation, communication is the basis for successful interactions with peers, family members, and colleagues in the workplace.
In healthcare, communication with patients and other healthcare providers can have a significant impact on a wide range of factors, from patient outcomes, to patient satisfaction about the care they’ve received.
As part of the October issue, we feature an article that brings into focus a gap in care that exists in geriatric patients with heart failure, and the impact healthcare providers can have in reducing hospital readmissions in this patient population. In their article, Michael Botros, PharmD, and Nicole East, PharmD, emphasize the importance of communication between patients and healthcare providers, as well as among healthcare providers themselves. They also discuss the downstream effects of polypharmacy and medication adherence on hospital readmissions (see “How to Impact Readmission Rates in Geriatric Patients with Heart Failure”).
Communication between healthcare providers is an integral part of patient care coordination across all specialties. In a recent interview, I had the opportunity to speak with Timothy G. Berger, MD, Vice President of the American Academy of Dermatology, about the role of the interprofessional healthcare team in promoting dermatology care and wellness. “There aren’t enough dermatologists and dermatology care providers in the United States,” he explained. “Dermatologists are trying to stretch their resources during this time of inadequate supply, looking to reach out to primary care, and, especially in rural areas, think of new ways for care to be delivered” (see “Questions Answered with Timothy G. Berger, MD”).
This month, we also provide a clinical challenge that highlights issues that arise from communication breakdowns. In particular, we share the case of a patient who was taking high doses of 2 different opioids for his lower back pain, and died from an overdose. As you read the case, think about how you would have managed this patient, as well as the importance of open communication among healthcare providers and between providers and their patients (see “The Pains of Chronic Opioid Usage”).
Last but not least, communication is paramount when raising patient awareness about immunization. Continuing our article series on influenza readiness for the 2015-2016 season, Krissy K. Moehling, MPH, and colleagues discuss strategies healthcare providers can use to increase immunization coverage in the community, focusing on a new tool they developed to help pharmacists and other primary care providers maximize their ability to impact preventive health measures (see “Raising Patient Awareness, Immunization Coverage in the Community”).
As always, we hope you will enjoy the selection of articles in this issue of Inside Patient Care. We hope that they will make you think about your role when treating and caring for patients, as well as your relationship with other healthcare providers.