Communicating clearly
and effectively to patients:

How to overcome common
communication challenges
in healthcare

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Executive Summary

Effective communication between healthcare providers and patients and their families is essential to safe, quality care. Studies have clearly shown that poor or missing communication between providers and patients can lead to patient harm or even death. This white paper from Joint Commission International provides a high-level overview of common healthcare communication challenges and short-comings, including the following:

  • Inadequate handover or transitions of care
  • Poor discharge planning and inadequate or unclear patient instructions
  • Language problems such as limited English proficiency, literacy, and health literacy of patients
  • Cultural barriers and misunderstandings
  • Age-related challenges
  • Errors in test results and medical orders

The white paper then identifies solutions to improve these common healthcare communication problems, offering tools, tips and strategies. The white paper concludes with how Joint Commission International standards address these challenges with evidence-based best practices that lead to improved healthcare communication and thereby better patient outcomes.

Studies have clearly shown that poor or missing communication between providers and patients can lead to patient harm or even death.

Communicating Clearly workshop

Would you like to organise a Communicating Clearly workshop for your team?

Express your interest via one of the email addresses below:

Australia/ New Zealand: [email protected]
India: [email protected]
UK/ Ireland/ Europe: [email protected]
Rest of the world: [email protected]

Who is JCI?

Joint Commission International (JCI) is the recognised leader in international healthcare accreditation.

JCI identifies, measures and shares best practices in quality and patient safety with the world. It evaluates more than 20,000 hospitals and other healthcare organisations, and works with health systems, government ministries, public health agencies, academic institutions and businesses to achieve peak performance in patient care.

JCI accreditation is considered the gold standard in global heatlhcare.

Find out more.

About OET

The Occupational English Test (OET) is the English language test for the healthcare sector.

It helps employers, governments and healthcare boards and councils select internationally trained healthcare professionals with the appropriate level of English to deliver patient safety and high-quality care.

The test is recognised by major healthcare boards in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, Dubai, Namibia, Singapore and the Ukraine, as well as by immigration authorities in Australia and New Zealand.

Find out more.