Open Communication Linked to Lower Hospital Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Veronica Toffolutti PhD

Postdoctoral researcher working with Professor David Stuckler
Department of Sociology
Bocconi University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Openness has been linked with better patient safety and better understanding of patients’ care goals. In addition, more open environments appear to be linked with positively ranked quality of teamwork, which in turns lead to better health care.

Yet if the expected benefits are to be achieved, it is necessary to show that greater openness actually corresponds to improvements in performance or lower mortality rates. To the best of our knowledge our is the first study to show an association between hospital mortality and openness and more precisely one point increase in the standardized openness score leads to a decrease of 6.48% in the hospital mortality rates. With the term openness we refer to an environment in which communication among patients, staff members and managers is open and transparent.  Continue reading

Cloud-Based Application Allows HIPAA-Compliant Texting Among Hospital Providers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gautam M. Shah Vice President of Product Management at VoceraMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Gautam M. Shah
Vice President of Product Management at Vocera

MedicalResearch.com Editor’s Note: Vocera announced on February 5, 2015, it will “provide a cloud-based secure text messaging solution as a benefit to all of its U.S. healthcare customers, at no additional cost, for use by any of their affiliated healthcare providers. Vocera Secure Texting will connect seamlessly with Vocera Communication Systems installed in over 800 U.S. hospitals” (Vocera press release). Mr. Shah, from Vocera, answers some questions regarding this new technology for the readers of MedicalResearch.com below.

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this technology?

Mr. Shah: The Vocera Secure Texting solution is a cloud-based, secure, HIPAA-compliant texting application that seamlessly integrates with the Vocera Communication System.  The solution will allow physicians to securely communicate with all members of their patient’s care team, while helping hospital CIOs improve security associated with protecting personal health information (PHI).

MedicalResearch: How will this texting method facilitate communication among health care providers?

Mr. Shah: This solution is being offered to all of our 800+ U.S. hospital customers at no cost, and to new customers for a nominal fee. Vocera Secure Texting will connect seamlessly with our award-winning communication system to enable physicians to securely text care teams and improve care coordination, operational efficiencies, and patient experience. What’s unique about Vocera Secure Texting is that it combines the convenience physicians need with the security health systems require. Our new secure texting app will be easy to use and provide a HIPAA-compliant alternative to SMS, as well as basic communication and collaboration capabilities for physicians and care teams.

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Negative Patient-Doctor Communication More Powerful Than Positive Interaction

Dr Maddy Greville-Harris Research Fellow University of SouthamptoMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Maddy Greville-Harris
Research Fellow
University of Southampton

 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Greville-Harris: Our research looks at the effects of non-understanding feedback (‘invalidation’) and discusses its implications in the medical consultation in eliciting the nocebo response. We carried out interviews with five patients and four healthcare providers to explore their experiences of receiving non-understanding feedback during their chronic pain consultations. Patients reported feeling dismissed and disbelieved by healthcare providers. As a result of these encounters, patients reported feeling angry or hopeless after invalidating consultations, describing an increased need to justify their condition or to avoid treatment altogether.

Our earlier work too, suggests that receiving non-understanding feedback can have very powerful effects. Participants who received such feedback were more physiologically aroused, reported more negative mood and were less willing to participate in the research again. These effects were much more powerful than the positive effects of receiving understanding feedback. Our research suggests that the power of negative communication is stronger than that of positive communication, and that invalidating feedback may be a nocebo effect that has largely been overlooked.

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Medical Residents and Nurse Practitioners: Effects of Communication Skills Training

J. Randall Curtis, MD, MPH Professor of Medicine Director, UW Palliative Care Center of Excellence Section Head, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Harborview Medical CenterA. Bruce Montgomery, M.D. – American Lung Association Endowed Chair in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98104MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
J. Randall Curtis, MD, MPH
Professor of Medicine
Director, UW Palliative Care Center of Excellence
Section Head, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Harborview Medical CenterA. Bruce Montgomery, M.D. – American Lung Association Endowed Chair in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98104

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Curtis: We examined the effect of a communication-skills intervention for internal medicine and nurse practitioner trainees on patient- and family-reported outcomes.  The study was funded by the National Institutes of Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Heatlh.  We conducted a randomized trial with 391 internal medicine and 81 nurse practitioner trainees at two universities.  Participants were randomized to either an 8-session simulation-based, communication-skills intervention or to usual education.  We collected outcome data from a large number of patients with life-limiting illness and their families, including 1866 patient ratings and 936 family ratings.  The primary outcome was patient-reported quality of communication and, overall, this outcome did not change with the intervention.  However, when we restricted our analyses to only patients who reported their own health status as poor, the intervention was associated with increased communication ratings. Much to our surprise, the intervention was associated with a small but significant increase in depression scores among post-intervention patients.  Overall, this study demonstrates that among internal medicine and nurse practitioner trainees, simulation-based communication training compared with usual education improved communication skills acquisition, but did not improve quality of communication about end-of-life care for all patients.  However, the intervention was associated with improved patient ratings of communication for the sickest patients. Furthermore, the intervention was associated with a small increase in patients’ depressive symptoms, and this appeared most marked among patients of the first-year residents.
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Physicians in Training and Basic Etiquette: Room for Improvement

Lauren Block, MD Assistant Professor, North Shore–LIJ Hofstra School of Medicine 2001 Marcus Ave., Suite S160 Lake Success, NY 11042MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lauren Block, MD
Assistant Professor, North Shore–LIJ Hofstra School of Medicine
2001 Marcus Ave., Suite S160
Lake Success, NY 11042

 

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Block: Our goal was to look at how often doctors in training were performing basic niceties with their patients, such as introducing themselves and sitting down. We found that while the doctors usually asked open-ended questions and touched patients, resident physicians were unlikely to introduce themselves, explain their role, or sit down when talking to patients.

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