Part 3 of a Continuing Series about Miscommunication in Healthcare written by Michael J. Grace, JD, CPHRM
If you are admitted into the hospital, you will probably encounter a group of hospitalists who specialize in the care of admitted patients. However, don’t expect to see the same doctor every day; you will seldom see the same doctor twice.
In theory, the first shift’s off-going hospitalist gives a report to the next shift’s on-coming hospitalist about each patient’s condition and the new hospitalist reviews the electronic medical record to see what has already been done by other providers. Unfortunately, theory is not always reality. Moreover, some electronic record systems are fragmented, meaning one department may lack access to records made by others.
And in most hospitals, there is some time delay before all documents get into the
system. What does this mean for your hospitalization? You are going to be constantly
asked to repeat what’s been done and how you’re feeling. Here are a few important
• Try to curb your frustration and answer all providers’ questions completely.
• Always have a patient advocate. This can be a friend or family member. You will get better and more consistent care if the doctors and nurses know someone is looking
out for you.
• You or your advocate should keep a journal of every encounter in the hospital. It will function as a living diary of events to be consulted throughout the hospital stay. The journal is the most efficient way to cut through patient-provider miscommunication. Make sure each journal entry is timed and dated and contains the name and speciality of everyone you meet.
Mike is the author and illustrator of “The Mumbo Jumbo Fix: A Survival Guide for Effective DoctorPatient Nurse Communication” available at Amazon and other book sellers.