Medical malpractice can happen as the result of breakdowns in communication. Given the seriousness of healthcare-related treatments, good communication is of critical importance in preventing errors.
Miscommunication, ignorance, misunderstandings and inadequate information can all happen without proactive discussion. Patients and physicians alike, uphold the responsibility of establishing good communication.
When people hear the word, “documentation,” they often think of their doctor’s responsibility to chart data. However, it is equally as important for patients to participate in documenting. Medical professionals rely on patients to provide adequate information about prior health conditions, prescription consumption, symptoms and general concerns. People should keep a thorough record of their health history including allergies.
Once doctors have this information, it is their responsibility to dissect the data and determine the most likely diagnosis. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health, patients should think about questions they may have prior to their appointment. Doctors should listen intently to patient concerns and assess individual medical records to have a comprehensive understanding of each situation.
Mindfulness is another aspect of good communication. According to The University of California, Berkeley, practicing mindfulness can aid doctors in responding to patient needs with an objective point of view. An awareness of personal biases can help physicians implement strategies to correct biases which may enable them to provide more personalized care to each patient.
Thorough documentation and a mindful approach to helping patients can go a long way in preventing medical malpractice. If at any point during treatment patients feel concerned about a lack of care, they should immediately notify their physician of their concerns.