Communication Rx

Communication Rx Book Cover Communication Rx
Calvin L. Chou & Linda Cooley
Business & Economics
McGraw-Hill Education

It may be obvious in theory, but overlooked in practice: effective communications can help healthcare professionals deliver great care to their patients and make their overall working lives easier too.  This book acts as a medicinal laxative, hopefully freeing up ‘blocking material’ and easing the future process of communications.
It was an interesting read as a non-medical person with a strong communications background. I am also a bit of a ‘regular customer’ of the healthcare industry due to certain long-term issues. Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of areas where communications could be, let’s be discreet, considered sub-optimal. I’ve also seen examples that are a lot worse too. Of course, quality communications and more-importantly unexpected, proactive communications are even more outstanding, perhaps because they are so irregular! Something like this book can work towards changing that. If the reader will only swallow the ‘bad medicine’.
The book is written from a clear U.S. perspective although the message should be universal. Its contents are based around a tested methodology to improve communications within healthcare and the reader is treated to a modular process that they can follow and implement. It is a lot more than just ‘good customer service’. Communication is a two-way process and it can improve health diagnoses, treatment schema, patient compliance and success and other things. In the U.S., it may grab a healthcare professional’s attention to note that good communications can reduce errors, which in turn can reduce malpractice risks and all the costly unpleasantness that follows. Within the workplace, the whole enterprise can run more smoothly, effectively and will a lower stress burden too. What is there not to like?
A lot of this knowledge is not unique to healthcare, so the same prescription could be followed by those within other sectors too, although understandably the motivation and examples are healthcare-focussed. Learn about teamwork, shared decision-making, conflict handling, diversity, coaching and engagement, along with many other beneficial or instructive subjects.
Who wouldn’t benefit from this book in one way or another? Who can also, with their hand on their heart, say that they have nothing new to learn about this subject? After all, shoe menders’ shoes are often in the worst-possible condition… The book is clearly written, engaging and informative and certainly not patronising or condescending. The authors have calculated that a typical clinician can have over 200,000 face-to-face patient interactions during their career, as well as a plethora of contact by telephone, messaging and, of course, liaison with colleagues and other professionals. That is a lot of potential ‘error episodes’ and in turn, a lot of potential gain if you can improve on your communications efficacy.
It is something to consider, even if you don’t think you need it. Like body odour, sometimes your best friend doesn’t even tell you, but will appreciate any change you can make.