Patient Experience newsletter: Oct. 2017

Monthly updates from the Office of the Patient Experience

Pilot communication workshops focus on communication skills, building rapport with patients

This summer the Office of the Patient Experience partnered with the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare to implement Relationship-Centered Communication Workshops for providers. Using evidence-based practice as a guiding principle, these interactive sessions focused on improving patient and clinician experiences through specific communication techniques.

The workshops were held at the Coralville Radisson and were 8 hours in length, with only 10 providers per session to ensure an intimate and safe learning environment.

What was taught?

Workshops focused on clinician-patient interactions. Each provider reviewed and practiced specific, fundamental skill sets. For example, when beginning the patient encounter, providers were taught how to:

  • Effectively establish rapport with the patient
  • Acknowledge any communication barriers
  • Elicit any lingering patient concerns
  • Satisfactorily negotiate the appointment agenda with the patient as the guiding force

Physician facilitators then incorporated live demonstrations, skills practice activities, and guided feedback and coaching to help providers incorporate these skills into their everyday practice.

Was it useful?

Nearly 80 providers attended a workshop. Feedback has been extremely positive:

  • 77 percent rated the workshop as excellent or good.
  • 83 percent strongly agreed or agreed that the skills they learned could be applied to their patient population.
  • 76 percent strongly agreed or agreed that the skills they learned were valuable to them and their practice.

“Thank you for setting up this awesome workshop. My clinics today went like a miracle using the strategies I got from the workshop. Residents gave me comments about how well I built patient rapport quickly. . . . In addition I got done with the clinic 1 hour earlier than usual.”

More provider communication workshops are slated to begin in January 2018.

Library open house for Health Literacy Month

October is Health Literacy and National Medical Librarians Month. Help us celebrate the partnership of the Patient Education Program with the libraries. There will be an open house from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Oct. 24, in the Janice and Bruce Ellig Children’s Library in UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Stop by to learn how the Patient Education Program can help you.

Tip: Look for these red flags when checking if patients understand their education.

  • Incomplete forms
  • Asking to have information read out loud
  • Naming medicines by color or look, not by reading labels
  • Not able to say why they are taking a medicine or the dose
  • Not asking enough questions or asking too many questions on material already given

The Patient Education Program can help make your materials clearly understood and meet plain language guidelines. Our site for staff is on The Point: Click on “Patient Education” under Top Links.

There are books on many health topics in both the Patients’ Library (Elevator F, Level 8) and the Janice and Bruce Ellig Children’s Library of UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital (Level 1). There is also access to interactive videos for patients at both locations that can help to understand of health conditions.

Recent patient comments about health literacy

 Positive comments

  • “He explains all treatments and meds to me in a way I can understand.”
  • “PA explained condition in a way I could understand and made me feel comfortable. Answered my questions and expressed interest in my concerns.”
  • “Doctors and staff in ICU outstanding always answered questions—med student always checked with me to be sure I fully understood all that was happening.”
  • “The nurses and nursing assistants stood out to us. Very good communication and concern for our daughter. Taking time with us and making sure we understand the process and procedure.”
  • “Everyone was so caring and helpful. They made sure my husband understood everything for discharge as I was likely to forget.”
  • “She gives me the facts using words and phrases that I can understand.”

 Missed the mark

  • “Physicians need to talk to the patient in everyday English not medical terms.”
  • “Discharge papers given to me to read. Just before disch. I was asked if I read them. No explanation about new meds, of ‘how’ they should be taken. No mention of need to call or where to call for P.T.”
  • “I wish the doctor would explain the diagnosis and treatment better in layman’s terms to me.”
  • “I had to ask the resident to explain some of the medical terms he was using.”
  • “Would NOT use or recommend this doctor—only used technical terms.”
  • Explaining things better. One of my questions didn’t get answered in an understanding way. It was a lot of info to take in.
  • “For my first visit (I’ve had 3) the primary care provider didn’t explain medication use clearly enough, and I was using things wrong for about 3 months, until my next check-up.”