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Standards of Excellence: Communication

Demonstrate active listening skills.

Use AIDET in every encounter to meet and exceed the expectations of our customers/co-workers.

  • Each employee has committed to utilizing this technique when we communicate.
    A - Acknowledge customer
    I - Introduce yourself
    D - Duration of test, meeting etc.
    E - Explanation in an understandable language to clarify questions
    T - Thank you after every encounter.
  • Listening attentively to our customers will ensure better understanding of their wants and needs.
  • Be quiet and listen carefully to the customers' words, intent, feelings and needs. Listen with your eyes as well as your ears. And remember that listening is not just waiting for your turn to speak.
    “Mrs. Brown, you are telling me that you are not in pain, but I see you wincing whenever I touch you. Let’s talk a bit more about how you are feeling.”
    “Sally, you are telling me you agree with me on this decision, but I sense that you are not entirely comfortable with it.”
  • As questions to clarify customers’ needs.
    “Ben, did you say you wanted to go to lunch first today?”
    “Mr. Dawn, you will need someone to escort you home after this procedure. Do you have someone with you?

Be aware of both verbal and non-verbal messages.

  • Use your own body language and gestures to convey your attention. Nod occasionally, smile and use other facial expressions. Note your posture and make sure it is open and inviting. Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like “yes” and “uh huh”.
  • Explanation and instructions are vital components to providing quality care.
  • Check for understanding.
    "Mr. Jefferson, would you please repeat how you’re going to take your medication? I want to be sure you are perfectly clear about the instructions."
    “Will you please demonstrate for me how to do your exercises?”
  • Provide clear instructions.
    “To run this report you will click on the EMR, then the printer on the bottom left and enter DISCHARGE and then click enter. I want to watch you run it so I know you will be able to do it next time.”

Provide timely feedback in a clear and concise manner.

Clarify expectations.

  • For example:
    “Here is a list of what you will need to bring with you when you arrive so you are prepared for the appointment next Monday. You may also download your patient forms at and complete them before you get here. If you cannot, please try to come 15 minutes early.”

    “Virginia, is there anything that you would like me to go over again or explain further?”

Follow up on all requests.

  • Respond to all phone messages and electronic mail in a reasonable time frame. Depending upon customer requests:
    Phone messages: 12-24 hours
    Email messages: 24-48 hours
  • If you cannot meet the above time frames, please let the customer know. Examples:
    “Jane, I dropped off a purchase order on Monday. Have you received it? Did I provide you with all of the information you needed?”
    “The doctor is finishing with a patient and will be in to see you in a few minutes, Mrs. Doe. Are you still having pain? Has the medication helped?”

Be open and honest.

  • For example:
    “Michael, I made a mistake with Mr. Lang’s medication. Can we talk about the best way to inform the patient and his family?”
    “Karen, that report I just sent you for Tammy is missing some data on web activity. I’ve attached the corrected version. Sorry for any inconvenience.”

Be adaptable.

  • Be considerate of others’ priorities.

    “Natalie, I realized that I do not have instructions for employees on how to log into Net Learning. Do you have time to put something together, or would you like me to stop by and get the information from you?”
    “Ms. Clarke, I see you are in a time crunch to get your records. Please allow me to do that for you right now.”

Speak in terms that are appropriate for your audience.

  • Use easily understood and appropriate language.

  • Avoid incorrect grammar, slang, medical terminology, jargon or abbreviations.
  • Be clear and concise when handing off a patient or a project to another employee. For example:
    “Tammy, Mr. Smith is going to be transferred to your unit. His care is complicated and he is very anxious about leaving the unit. Let’s take some time to talk about his needs.”
    “Buddi, I’m heading out to lunch, but I wanted to let you know that Suzi is working on completing her application for the open accounting position and she’s had some questions. Can you please check on her to make sure she’s doing ok in 10 to 15 minutes?"
  • Communicate information that will increase the safety, quality, efficiency and effectiveness of the team. For example:
    “Sally, I just put the patient in room 608 on a bed pan, but I need to run downstairs to pick up a monitor. Can you watch for her call light?”
    “Tim, that machine was not working properly yesterday. Let’s take it out of service and tag it for repair.”

Be aware of language barriers.

  • Try to be proactive to have a language interpreter available to assist with patients, or utilize the Language Line to better communicate with your customer. Do not rely on family members to interpret for you.
    The CCH Language Line can be accessed at nursing units throughout the hospital, in the Emergency Department and Campbell County Medical Group Clinics. Please see the Language Access policy in Policy Manager for further information on setting up a Language Line in your department. For those patients who may be hearing impaired, CCH offers sign language interpreters. Contact the House Supervisor at ext. 2407.

Ensure an appropriate level of privacy and confidentiality is maintained.

Be open and honest. Be adaptable.

Ensure an appropriate level of privacy and confidentiality is maintained.

  • For example:
    “Mrs. Harris, to protect your privacy, please come with me to our private consultation room where we can discuss your care (or account/test).”

Know and abide by all HIPAA guidelines related to confidential patient information.

  • Discuss all patient or customer information in a private area where you cannot be overheard.
  • Elevators, hallways, cafeterias or other public areas are not appropriate for patient related discussions.
  • Remind others of this if you hear conversations being held in public places.
    “Let’s wait until we get back on the unit to discuss Mr. Card’s condition.”

Share information about a patient’s care or payment with only those who “need to know.”

  • For example:
    “Mr. Smith, to maintain our patient’s privacy we are only allowed to give out patient information to those individuals who have the HIPAA number. Thank you for understanding.”
    “Mr. Peters, I will need you to sign a release for me to be able to talk with your daughter concerning your account.”

Ensure that you have permission in writing to discuss Protected Health Information (PHI) with anyone not directly involved.

  • For example:
    “Mrs. Jordan, thank you for bringing in a signed consent from your father to receive his medical records. In addition I will need a copy of your identification card to release this information to you.”

When disposing of documents, shred all those with private information.

Keep your passwords to yourself.

Always knock before entering a patient or resident room and ask permission before entering someone’s room or office.

Provide proper size patient gowns.

  • Always place robes on patients when they are being transported to another department or ambulating in the halls.

Provide privacy during toileting/exams.

  • For example:
    “I will just close the door so we can maintain your privacy while I examine you.”

Conduct phone conversations with discretion and protect confidentiality.

  • Be aware of the environment and who is present. Keep private conversations private.
    “I currently have someone in my office; may I call you back later when we can talk?”
  • “Excuse me while I take this call, I need to discuss another patient. I will be back shortly. Thank you.”

When you are away from your work area, log off or black out screens that contain patient information.

Demonstrate constructive problem solving skills.

Use constructive language.

  • The words you use set the tone for the interaction. A problem becomes a “challenge.” A weakness becomes an “opportunity;” a conflict, a “situation.”
  • Commit to not complaining unless you have an idea for a solution.

Be open and accepting when customers and co-workers come to you with concerns.

  • For example:
    “Thank you for sharing that information with me. I was not aware that happened.”
    “I’m concerned that you are not following the proper injury reporting procedure.”

Speak well of others.

  • In the presence of customers and members of our community, speak positively about your organization and co-workers.
  • Avoid making negative comments about workload, other staff, other departments or personal issues.
    “CCH/CCMG/CCMH is a good place to work. Staff members really work well together and take good care of our patients.”
    “I know my co-worker Margie will be able to help you.”
  • Eliminate gossip.

Don’t find fault; find a remedy.

  • Seek to understand the system breakdowns that cause problems, rather than putting the blame on the people doing the work.
    "It seems like the procedure for ordering supplies doesn’t work well. What can we do together to make it a better process?”
    “Jane, let’s check the refrigerator for the missing doses before asking Pharmacy to send another.”

Recognize that conflicts may exist among co-workers, but professional courtesy is always expected.

  • Hostile behaviors such as raising your voice, using disrespectful language or making derogatory comments are unacceptable.
  • Set aside differences when working together to accomplish your goals. You don’t have to like all your co-workers, but you do need to be able to work with them.
  • Deal with co-worker problems or conflicts while the issues are still small. Address the problem with the person with whom you have the problem. Always try to work it out together first. Address unresolved problems by going to the appropriate supervisor, manager or director.
    “I know you do not agree with my plan. Let’s discuss this again later when we are not busy (angry).”
    “I’ve noticed that you’ve been late coming back from lunch for the past few days. That really delays the clinic schedule and is inconsiderate of staff.”
  • Abide by the CCH Constructive Problem Solving Policy in Policy Manager.

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