Communication in Healthcare

Communication in Healthcare



Communication in Healthcare

Generally, ineffective communication is one of the main issues in healthcare and the overall society. Many crises in the general community can be fundamentally traced back to ineffective communication. In healthcare, ineffective communication between the patients and healthcare professionals can result in significant consequences such as poor service and, in some extreme cases, even death. Communication is a broad topic encompassing the interaction between the healthcare professionals themselves and the interactions of the healthcare providers and their patients. There is a lot of information flowing through a healthcare system and the information about the patient is one of the most important data (Brennan & Bakken, 2015). The scope of the paper comprehensively covers the problem statement by highlighting the significance of the issue of ineffective communication as a result of a language barrier in the healthcare setting and developing suitable solutions such as hiring professional interpreters. The research will primarily address gravity, prevalence, effects, and answers to the issue of ineffective communication between healthcare professionals and patients with limited English proficiency. 

Ineffective communication has been generally linked to numerous healthcare outcomes. There is a secure connection between the healthcare provider’s communication skills and a patient’s readiness and capability to abide strictly by the medical recommendations and suggestions such as self-management of illnesses and implement preventive health habits. The English proficiency can act as a severe barrier to the communication between the patient and the health care provider, consequently interfering with the entire medical process. The inability of the patient to apply and effectively utilize the medical recommendation significantly undermines the purpose of healthcare (Clarke, 2012). This is a grave issue as it substantially reduces the quality of life of the patient while frustrating the healthcare providers. Generally, a patient’s opinion of the service and care received in a healthcare setting significantly depends on the nature of interactions between them and the patients. Communication, especially between the patient and the healthcare provider, is essential for the improvement of the health of the patient since it also affects the psychological condition of the patient (Foster, 2012). Thus, ineffective communication resulting from English proficiency is a very grave issue that needs to be addressed to improve the health of the patient.

The ineffective communication between the patient and the healthcare providers have numerous consequences for both the patient and the clinicians. This miscommunication is likely to result in the frustration of the health care providers as they can’t effectively achieve their objectives. The frustration in a healthcare setting cascades into numerous other consequences, such as reduced productivity and lower quality of service. The miscommunication due to the language barrier can result in litigation against the healthcare institutions either for an unplanned therapy or wrong procedures (Shaw-Taylor, 2014). The miscommunication due to lack of information can also significantly undermine customer satisfaction, which is one of the most critical objectives in a healthcare setting (Clarke, 2012). The miscommunication between the healthcare provider and the patient could also result in several consequences for the patient. The interactions of the patient and the health care providers profoundly affect how the patient follows the suggestions and solutions offered by the healthcare professionals.

Consequently, miscommunication due to language barrier can make a patient feel like their input is not valued by the health care professionals, thus making them opposed to following the medical instructions. There are some medicals assessments that can only be described by the patients, such as pain. The language barrier imposed by proficiency in English can facilitate the misdiagnosis of the patient, which is harmful to the patient in numerous ways. First, drug therapy to treat the perceived illness may be detrimental to the patient resulting in continual deterioration of the patient. Besides, the time wasted in treating the wrong disease gives this other illness an opportunity to continue ravaging the patient, thus mostly aggravating the patient’s condition. The miscommunication between the patient and the clinicians can also reduce the patient’s trust in their medical professional, thus undermine their motivation to follow their instructions (White & Spruce, 2015). The failure of a patient to support the medical professionals’ recommendations ends up hurting the patient. Numerous adverse outcomes have been connected between the miscommunication between the medical professionals and the patient. Succinctly, the effects of miscommunication between the patient and the medical professional include aggravation of the patient’s condition, misdiagnosis of the patient, loss of trust in the medical professional, litigation, and death of the patient.

The effects of the miscommunication due to English proficiency are severe, and the problem needs to be conclusively solved. The immediate solution to the language barrier due to the English proficiency would be hiring interpreters in the healthcare environment. However, interpreters may not have an intimate knowledge of medical jargon; thus, the long-term solution of the problem would be including languages as one of the subjects learned by the medical professionals (Shaw-Taylor, 2014). Interpreters who share the patient’s language should be used to inform the doctor of the physical condition and the symptoms of the patient. The interpreter solution is fraught with several disadvantages, such as lack of confidentiality between the interpreter and the patient, misrepresentation of the patient’s message, among others. However, it is a solution that can significantly improve the conditions while the long-term solution is still being implemented. It is critical to incorporate languages in the training of medical professionals in anticipation of these everyday situations. Understanding the patient can significantly improve the quality of care and customer satisfaction.


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