Why Communication Matters

by Missy Padoll | 02/01/2016

If organizations had super powers, CRICO’s would be our data and our commitment to eradicate clinical vulnerabilities. Our data helps save lives.

As discussed in an article published today in STAT’s Pulse of Longwood, we identified communication failure as a contributing factor in 30% or 7,149 cases.* Tragically, 1,744 of those cases resulted in death. Communication is part of virtually every medical encounter and it is often more complicated when the patient’s medical condition and their health care encounters are complex. Efforts to reduce patient harm across all types of clinical encounters should consider the value and efficiency of good communication processes and the potential impact of communication failures.

In publishing our 2015 Report called Malpractice Risks in Communication Failures (the sixth of our annual reports exploring medical error) our intention is to:

  • Raise awareness
  • Identify communication failure as a significant patient safety risk
  • Provide  health care leaders with a clear and compelling case with which to inspire a culture of safety within their institutions
  • Safe exchange of patient information requires "soft"communication skills coupled with "solid" guidelines

Communication is a broad topic with myriad potential pitfalls. Not only did we expose the areas presenting the greatest risk to patients and providers alike, but also identified proven solutions to mitigate those risks. We hope that others might adopt and integrate these solutions into their own organizations…and ultimately, gain a solid appreciation of why communication matters.

* Through analysis of 23,658 national medical malpractice cases filed from 2009-2013.