Much like the practice of health care, communication is both an art and science. For many patients, the best care experiences (and results) stem from a provider’s understanding of the role and importance of communication.
Consider any one of the thousands of individuals who visit their doctor annually and are informed that they need to undergo some medical procedure. It could be a routine procedure like a colonoscopy, or a non-routine procedure like having a cancerous tumor removed. Anytime a patient must undergo a medical procedure there are a number of pre-operative, perioperative, and post-discharge steps that must be followed. Often patients must alter their diets and physical activities prior to (and following) a procedure. Once admitted to the clinic or hospital on the day of the procedure, the patient follows a number of well-defined, sequential steps to prepare for what’s next. Understanding risks associated with a procedure, receiving medications and anesthesia administered by a care team, and undertaking the actual procedure are each a critical part of the whole patient perioperative experience. And no matter how many times a patient might have faced such an intervention before, the unfamiliar environment combined with the inherent complexities and gravitas of personal health leads to significant stress and anxiety.