Why Relationship Centered Communication Matters

Effective communication impacts patient safety, quality and patient satisfaction. In today’s healthcare environment, most caregivers face the competing challenges of limited time for patient interaction, variable expectations, and increasing medical complexity. When physicians and advanced clinical care providers are given the support and resources to develop relationship-centered communication skills, they become empowered to handle any communication challenge and can enhance the experience of not only the patient, but also their loved ones and the providers.

Ensuring effective clinician-patient communication is the right thing to do for our patients, and critical to the delivery of safe, high-quality medical care. How effectively clinicians communicate with patients has emerged as a very important issue in healthcare. In the last three years, Cleveland Clinic has emerged as a leader in the field of patient experience and improving clinician communication. The programs outlined here have been instrumental in improving communication scores across the board in HCAHPS and outpatient satisfaction surveys, including CGCAHPS. Many of these changes are statistically significant (paper currently under review).