Communication channels

Effective Engagement & Communication in Healthcare Delivery

Key to Successful Health Outcomes, Increased Productivity & Cost Reduction

5 Effects of Miscommunication in Healthcare11

  • Medical Errors
  • Longer wait times
  • Workplace conflict
  • Poor decision making
  • Increased stress
  • Inefficient communication leads to a doubling of the time it takes to complete patient admissions, coordinate emergency response and patient transfers12
  • 70% of the specialists rate the patient referral information they receive from other providers as fair or poor15
  • About 80% of all serious medical errors involve miscommunication15
  • Medical errors 3rd leading cause of death16
  • Improving communication practices can reduce patient injuries from medical errors by 30 percent14
  • Over 30% of all medical malpractices in the US between 2009 – 2013 were a direct result of miscommunication10
  • $12 Billion / year wasted by US Hospitals due to poor communication13
  • Clinicians and other members of the healthcare team conduct thousands of patient interactions during their career
  • The primary essential elements of health care delivery are patient assessment, diagnosis, advising and prescribing are all dependent on effective communication between the Healthcare Professional and Patient
  • Core communication skills such as Open-ended inquiry, reflective listening and empathy are key to respond to the unique needs, understanding values and preferences of individual patients
  • There is a wealth of evidence linking ineffective clinician-patient communication with increased malpractice risk, non-adherence, patient and clinician dissatisfaction, and poor patient health outcomes4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • The necessity of addressing communication skill deficits of healthcare practitioners is of utmost importance17
  • Communication training for clinicians and other healthcare professionals receives far less attention throughout their initial and ongoing training than other skills17
  • Increasing adherence may have a greater effect on health than improvements in specific medical therapy1
  • Medication adherence is not exclusively the responsibility of the patient1

Poor communication ratings were independently associated with objectively measured inadequate medication adherence2
Good communication is key to establishing trusting, caring relationships with patients and motivating them to follow treatment recommendations3


  1. Brown, M. T., & Bussell, J. K. (2011). Medication Adherence: WHO Cares? Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 86(4), 304–314.
  2. Ratanawongsa, N., Karter, A. J., Parker, M. M., Lyles, C. R., Heisler, M., Moffet, H. H., Adler, N., Warton, E. M., & Schillinger, D. (2013). Communication and Medication Adherence: The Diabetes Study of Northern California. JAMA Internal Medicine, 173(3), 210–218.
  3. Lee, W., Noh, Y., Kang, H., & Hong, S. H. (2017). The mediatory role of medication adherence in improving patients’ medication experience through patient–physician communication among older hypertensive patients. Patient Preference and Adherence, 11, 1119–1126.
  4. Duffy, F. D., Gordon, G. H., Whelan, G., Cole-Kelly, K., & Frankel, R. (2004). Assessing competence in communication and interpersonal skills: The Kalamazoo II report. Academic Medicine, 79, 495-507.
  5. Heisler, M., Bouknight, R. R., Hayward, R. A., Smith, D. M., & Kerr, E. A. (2002). The relative importance of physician communication, participatory decision-making, and patient understanding in diabetes self-management. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 17, 243-252.
  6. Renzi, C., Abeni, D., Picardi, A., Agostini, E., Melchi, C. F., Pasquini, P., Prudu, P., & Braga, M. (2001). Factors associated with patient satisfaction with care among dermatological outpatients. British Journal of Dermatology, 145, 617-623.
  7. Safran, D. G., Taira, D., Rogers, W. H., Kosinski, M., Ware, J. E., & Tarlov, A. R. (1998). Linking primary care performance to outcomes of care. Journal of Family Practice, 47(3), 213-220.
  8. Sullivan, L. M., Stein, M. D., Savetsky, J. B., & Samet, J. H. (2000). The doctor-patient relationship and HIV-infected patients’ satisfaction with primary care physicians. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 15, 462-469.
  9. Zachariae, R., Pederson, C. G., Jensen, A. B., Ehrnrooth, E., Rossen, P. B., Von der Maase, H. (2003). Association of perceived physician communication style with patient satisfaction, distress, cancer-related self-efficacy, and perceived control over the disease. British Journal of Cancer, 88, 658-665.
  10. CRICO (2015). Malpractices Risks in Communication Failures. Strategies National CBS Report
  11. Hicks, J. (2017). 5 Side Effects of Ineffective Communication. Available at accessed on 28 October 2017
  12. Imprivata (2014). The economic impact of inefficient communications in healthcare. Available at accessed on 28 October 2017
  13. Accenture (2013). A Call To Action: Overcoming Communication Challenges in Hospitals. Available at accessed on 28 October 2017
  14. Starmer, A.J. et al., (2014). Changes in Medical Errors after Implementation of a Handoff Program. New England Journal of Medicine 317, 1803-1812.
  15. Govette, R. (2016) 30 Healthcare statistics that keep most healthcare executives up at night. Available at accessed on 28 October 2017
  16. Makary, M. A. & Daniel M. (2016). Medical error – third leading cause of death in the US. British Medical Journal, 353:i2139
  17. Institute for Healthcare Communication (2017). Impact of Communication in Healthcare. Available at accessed on 28 October 2017

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