If you or a loved one has ever been in the hospital in Washington State, you should expect that when staff shift changes occur, information important for your continued care is passed along from one set of employees to the next. In addition, these notes should be made in your chart for added protection. Sadly, these types of things do not always happen and it is communication gaps just like this that open the door for many potentially dangerous mistakes to be made.
Becker's Hospital Review explains that addressing the problem of poor communication among health care professionals can be very complex in part because of the human element involved. Every health care professional is a professional but they are also people first. This means they may have low emotional intelligence that may block their ability to put patients first and take the extra steps needed to properly communicate with their colleagues.
Some hospitals are recognizing how serious this issue is and are providing training specifically with improving safety for patients in mind. This includes highlighting the importance of safety at a cultural level as well as personal and professional levels. Leadership must be supportive of these efforts if they are really going to be able to make the progress that is so desperately needed.
If you would like to learn more about some of the factors like communication that may contribute to a potentially serious medical error, please visit the patient safety and medical mistakes page of our Washington medical malpractice website.