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Communication tool vital in doctor to patient treatment – Experts

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Medical experts at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos, have said that communication tool is vital in doctor to patient treatment.

The experts disclosed this on Tuesday during a pre-conference workshop of LUTH 2nd International Conference, with theme, “Quality Improvement and Communication Skills for Healthcare Workers”.

Prof. Amam Mbakwen, Consultant Cardiologist, said that communication tool is the major determinant of patients’ satisfaction.

Mbakwen said that a medical expert could be the best in his field of practice but if his patients were not being satisfied, they would not come back again for treatment.

“Communication skills is fundamental to the patients, without proper information, the medical expert will arrive at the wrong diagnosis.

“All the knowledge that you acquired, without good communication skills is nothing,” she said.

She said that patients needed to get the right information at the right time with the understanding of their needs.

Speaking, Prof. Olatunji Aina, Head, Department of Psychiatry, LUTH, said that the way medical experts passed information and body language goes a long way in treating a patient.

“Effective communication in medical practice is very important at building good therapeutic relationship with patients and relatives.

“Roles of medical communication enhances appropriate doctor/patient relationship, patients insight, accurate diagnosis and treatment, promotes patient recovery and well being,” he said.

The department head identified strategy for effective communication as humility, open ended questions, empathy, use of plain language and confidentiality.

He said that patients in pains and discomfort, distrust in the healthcare workers’ language, excessive use of medical jargons and work overload were barriers to effective communication in health care practice.

He said it also includes complex therapeutic decisions and some medical diagnosis like cancer, HIV/AIDS or organ failure.

Also, Dr Babayemi Osinaike, Head, Accident and Emergency, said that who, what, why and how was the four components of communication that must be put into medical practice.

In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of LUTH, Chris Bode, said that the conference was about communication in patient care.

“A patient that complains to a doctor whether verbally or non verbally expects to get a solution to his problem,” he said.

He said that doctors had been trained for several years to use all sorts of communication skills to assure  patients to get to the root of their  problems.

Bode said that communication was crucial to any medical practice with clients and patients.

He said that the program was organised to showcase how medical experts had been operating.

Bode recommended that the conference outcome be documented for young medical experts to keep the process going, to train and re-train every member of the healthcare team.

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