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Being Collaborative (and Polite) Could Save Your Patient's Life

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Tue, Jan 17, 2017 @ 06:27 AM

doctorscollaborating.jpgIn my medical training, there certainly wasn't a lot of room for feeling poorly about things, or getting "down" about what a patient or colleague may have said to you.

There was a lot of camaraderie, meaningful leadership, and profoundly respectful collegiality. In most ways, the entire medical profession was a lot more polite, positive, and cordial than it is now. That said, surgeons would throw things; nurses would bully young doctors; patients did whatever patients did. There was a high standard, and the existence of a hierarchy excused a lot of bad behavior. As I came into my own as a doctor, I became increasingly aware of the need for cultivating an atmosphere of real respect and collaboration. Regardless of where each person exists in the hierarchy, we all do better work when we are collaborative instead of competitive, constructive instead of demeaning, when we talk and share rather than dismiss and avoid.

iClickCare is a tool to help healthcare providers collaborate more, share more, learn more, include more providers in key diagnoses, and provide better care. Yes, it achieves "hard nosed" goals like decreasing costs, dropping readmissions and length of stay, and meeting HIPAA compliance regulations. But it is also founded on our deep convictions that collaboration is important to medicine.

Many times, healthcare providers and hospital administrators are under so much pressure that they balk at a goal like medical collaboration or healthcare collaboration. In some ways, our modern medical system is more egalitarian and collegial than it was in the "old days" but in other ways, providers are pushed so far past their breaking point that there is a feeling of, "I'm really out for myself at this point, and if the people around me don't like it, then too bad. As for what the patients say to me? I couldn't care less."

It's interesting that even the most black-and-white data is beginning to show that this kind of perspective isn't practical (aside from any other considerations.) For instance, Fierce Healthcare cites a study showing that when doctors and nurses are spoken to in a rude way by other providers, they're less likely to make good diagnoses and perform well. Of course, with many healthcare providers past their breaking point, rude behavior is certainly not unknown. But communication and collaboration is key for everything from insights to effective handoffs -- and rudeness can get in the way.

Even more starkly, doctors who are subjected to rude behavior by patients, families, or caregivers, are shown to provide worse care to their patients, according to a study by the University of Florida researchers. What is fascinating is that it's not a case of revenge or "getting back" -- the study notes that rudeness actually interferes with the provider's cognitive function. Not only did the rude behavior affect the doctor in the care of that patient, but in their work throughout the day.

Collaboration, communication, and kindness to each other as providers and people build on each other. It doesn't take a lot to start a cycle -- and even a little collegiality can affect care in a big way.


If you want to hear more about using iClickCare to make it easy to collaborate and communicate in your practice, click to find out more:

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Tags: medical collaboration, medical provider burnout

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