No matter what industry you work in, you probably know the value of efficient communication. Miscommunication leads to errors and mistakes. Companies with employees who are able to communicate quickly and effectively are going to avoid these mistakes and get better results, along with being more productive.
This is no different in the medical industry. In fact, miscommunication has been cited as one of the top reasons for medical errors. Since these medical mistakes can change a patient’s life forever, it’s important to understand how they happen and what steps can be taken to prevent them. Let’s look at a few examples of how miscommunication could occur.
Failing to convey important details
First of all, a medical professional could simply forget to tell someone else critical details that they need to know for a specific patient. For instance, someone who stays in the hospital for an extended period of time is going to deal with numerous doctors and nurses as their shifts start and end. Every time there is a switch, it’s very important for the new team to understand exactly what they’re dealing with and what type of care that patient needs.
Getting those details wrong
In cases where communication does happen, errors can still be made when someone gets those details wrong and the other party doesn’t realize it. For instance, a nurse may mistakenly tell another medical professional to give a patient a type of medication that is actually dangerous for them. That other person hasn’t been involved with the case and simply assumes the information they got was correct.
Mixing up records
Finally, there are situations in which medical records and information are accidentally switched between patients. A doctor could read the entire file, but, if they’ve been handed the file for a person with a similar name and a very different condition, the information that they’re getting is not accurate. This can lead to wrong-site surgery, for example.
If you or a family member has been harmed by a medical mistake, be sure you know what options you have.