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Poor Communication is Still Endangering Patient Safety

· Kim Tucker,

patient safetyWhen the Institute of Medicine published the landmark report in 1999, To Err is Human, it illuminated the true impact of medical errors on patient safety. Specifically, the authors stated that “errors are caused by faulty systems, processes, and conditions that lead people to make mistakes or fail to prevent them.” 1

The report was an alarm. It awakened the healthcare industry and public to the fact that preventable medical errors weren’t rare isolated incidents. Instead, they were systemic – and taking a significant toll on patient lives, costs of care, public trust, and more.

Fast forward nearly 20 years to the present, tremendous strides have been made in research, technology, and care delivery. Yet the presence and effects of inefficient, incorrect, and disparate communications are still prevalent. In fact, a third of medical malpractice cases can be directly linked to communication breakdowns.2

Common causes of communication failures include:

  • error-prone, outdated documentation practices
  • constant interruptions and distractions
  • usage of multiple, incongruent devices for clinical documentation, communication, and care delivery

Clinicians work tirelessly to address the physical and emotional needs of patients. So, preventing communication breakdowns is not a matter of working harder. What clinicians need are smarter solutions: communication platforms that work the way they do.

These smarter solutions not only improve communication and support clinical workflows – but are also designed to prevent common communication mistakes that can lead to costly medical errors.

Smart, unified clinical collaboration platforms are:

  • Enterprise-grade, mobile systems that deliver real-time patient and clinical context within messages
    – providing access to the information clinicians need for on-the-spot decision-making
  • Safe and secure, beyond just HIPAA compliance – they protect the overall safety and security of patients by ensuring safer care
    – supporting the role of each clinician and reducing incidences of medical error
  • Built for workflows, enabling an intuitive experience for all members of the care team – they don’t “bolt on” workflow resources but are driven by it
    – simplifying the complexities of healthcare with workflow-driven communication

To learn more about how PatientSafe’s PatientTouch platform specifically addresses the common healthcare failures caused by faulty communication – and delivers clinical, organizational, and financial results – read Smarter Systems, Safer Patients.


  1. Institute of Medicine – To Err is Human
  2. CRICO Strategies

Smarter Systems, Safer Patients

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