Improving clinician-patient communication

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recently released a discussion paper that offers principles on effective communication to guide nurses, physicians, social workers, and others working to provide the best possible care for each patient.

“In today’s complex health care environment, clear communication between patients and clinicians is imperative to assure patient safety and optimal outcomes,” said ANA President Karen Daley, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN. “The American Nurses Association (ANA) applauds the Institute of Medicine’s timely release of Patient Clinician Communication: Basic Principles and Expectations.

“Nurses, who are the largest group of health care professionals, care for patients across the life span and continuum of care. These principles and expectations will enhance patient centered-care, improve patient satisfaction and safety, and lead to better health outcomes and potentially lower health care costs.”

The document is aimed at promoting patient-centered clinical encounters by:

  • Stating clearly the anchor concepts in patient care, such as mutual respect, harmonized goals, supportive environment, and transparency and full disclosure.
  • Highlighting the minimum expectations for discussion between a clinician and a patient and family, such as the reason for the visit, the nature of the decisions being made, and patient preferences.
  • Emphasizing the importance of the culture and environmental factors to successfully achieve the principles and expectations of the care experience.

This inaugural paper kicks off a new IOM project, and was developed by participants drawn from organizations engaged in the Best Practices Innovations Collaborative and the Evidence Based Communication Innovation Collaborative of the IOM Roundtable on Value and Science-Driven Health Care. Organizations expressing support for the aims of this individually-authored discussion paper include ANA, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the Oncology Nursing Society, the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, among other health care and consumer groups. To view the document, go to http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/.

ANA supports Tavenner to head CMS

The American Nurses Association (ANA) commends the White House for its recent decision to nominate Marilyn Tavenner, MHA, BSN, RN, to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Tavenner, a former ICU nurse, was an executive at the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) and was Virginia’s secretary of Health and Human Resources under then-Gov. Tim Kaine. Most recently, she worked as CMS’s principal deputy administrator.

“Marilyn Tavenner will make an excellent CMS administrator,” said ANA President Karen Daley, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN. “As a nurse, her focus is on improving care for the patient. ANA looks forward to working with Tavenner to implement the provisions of the Affordable Care Act so that Americans can benefit from a system that is more responsive to their need for accessible and high quality care.”

If approved through Senate confirmation, Tavenner will replace Don Berwick, MD, who was appointed by President Obama in July 2010. ANA commends Berwick for his work at CMS, most significantly as an innovator and catalyst for quality improvement.

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