Indian Journal of Rheumatology

: 2020  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 147--148

Improving communications in healthcare

Vinod Ravindran 
 Centre for Rheumatology, Kozhikode - 673 009, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Vinod Ravindran
Centre for Rheumatology, Kozhikode - 673 009, Kerala

How to cite this article:
Ravindran V. Improving communications in healthcare.Indian J Rheumatol 2020;15:147-148

How to cite this URL:
Ravindran V. Improving communications in healthcare. Indian J Rheumatol [serial online] 2020 [cited 2023 Feb 3 ];15:147-148
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Full Text

Book 1: Physician Communication: Connecting with Patients, Peers, and the Public

Author : Terry L Schraeder

Edition :First edition, 2019

Publisher : Oxford University Press, New York, USA

ISBN : 9780190882440

Pages : 214

Price : 22.99 US$


Book 2: Communication for health care practice

Author : Amanda Henderson

Edition :First edition, 2019

Publisher : Oxford University Press, Victoria, Australia

ISBN : 9780195596762

Pages : 206

Price : 33.99 US$


Communication skills are one of the essential skills of great importance; they, by and large, determine how we are perceived by the world and vice versa. In all walks of life, and in particular in health care delivery, whether engaging with patients, colleagues, family members, trainees, managers, etc., successful communication requires focusing on the objective of each interaction and a good understanding of the target of such communication. It is widely acknowledged that properly delivered and thoughtful, quality communication leads to better health outcomes and ultimately, a positive experience for all the stakeholders. Recently, tremendous and rapid developments in digital technologies (such as electronic health records, social media and apps facilitating online meetings, etc.) have started to impact on communications within health care delivery setups too. Therefore, to learn to effectively communicate; to facilitate the exchange of information, participate in decision-making process, engage with other stakeholders and reduce complaints and resolve controversies is a felt need for everyone in health care practice. Two books, recently published by the Oxford University Press, with little overlap in their target population, are refreshingly distinct in their approach and style in discussing communication as applied to the current health care sector.

Written by Dr. Terry Schraeder, a medical internist and a medical journalist, the first book, Physician Communication: Connecting with patients, peers and the public, addresses physicians at all levels of training and practice. The book is divided into four chapters. The first chapter on “Face-to-face communication” effectively discusses the needs and barriers in communicating with patients and ways and means to overcome those difficulties. The importance of nonverbal communication has been emphasized. Of particular interest in the second chapter on “Digital communication,” is a useful critical appraisal of social media in today's context. This chapter also discusses how to effectively use E-mails and guidelines and etiquette of electronic communications. Chapter on “Public speaking and presentation skills” is very useful. It discusses how to analyze one's communication and presentation skills and improve it by paying attention to the voice, common pitfalls in making presentations, contents, and target audience. The last chapter on “Traditional media” underscores the fact that often the needs of print and electronic media differ from those of professional communications. This lack of understanding may result not only in lost opportunities of communication with public, which traditional media such as television and print media offers but also in messages being incoherent and out of sync. Throughout the book, Dr. Schraeder has used boxes to convey useful tips to improve communication. She has effectively used quotes by renowned people to characterize the challenges of communication by physicians. In short, this book puts forth opportunities for physicians to increase the effectiveness in all types of communications.

The second book, Communication for health care practice is intended to teach students of health care, nursing, and midwifery how to engage and interact in a productive manner. However, this book, authored by Professor Amanda Henderson, Central Queensland University, and a director of nursing, is useful for all stakeholders in health care delivery, including physicians, due to its unique treatment to the topic. Each chapter begins with bulleted learning objectives and ends with clearly laid out summary. Within each chapter, relevant topics and issues have been discussed under illustrative scenarios, and each scenario ends with a few pertinent points for reflection and take-home messages. These scenarios are well-chosen and indicative of everyday communication in healthcare. Each chapter's value is further enhanced by a short discussion at the end under “consolidate your learning” and a list of some relevant publications and interesting websites as “Further reading”. A list of references at the end of each chapter not only is useful for the trainees in particular, but it also underscores the fact that communication is both an art and a science! The book covers all aspects of communications in eight chapters, the focus being inter- and intraprofessional communications. They range from why communication is significant, mechanism by which communication occurs, to the application of communication in the practice setting. In short, this book focuses on patient-oriented communication strategies that enhance patient well-being and underscores how quality communication leads to better health outcomes and ultimately a positive experience to all stakeholders and succeeds in providing effective tools to be used by all.

These two books are essential reading for everyone who wishes to be more effective in getting important information or views across to another individual or group.