Monday, 10 November 2008

Learning communication techniques is important for spread and safety

I'm freshly back from a fabulous 2 day masterclass with a group who actively particiapted in developing their own communication skills. This was more than ideas on how to develop a technical communication plan. This was a group of individuals who spend time in front of video cameras and then assessed their own performance - with the aim of giving each other feedback and consequently improving their skills.

So often when communication is mentioned in the context of spreading good practice we default to "how to develop a communication plan". Yet I know from working with this groups, as with other groups I encounter, that it is only when we get to the finer details of communication and behaviour does anything really change.

Communication itself is an important topic. There is oodles of research about which demonstrates the link between communication and performance, communication and financial outcomes, communication and patient outcomes. In the current copy of International Journal for quality in Healthcare there is another excellent research report demonstrating how communication is linked to medical disputes.

My feeling is we can get further in the goal of spreading good practice when we pay attention to the details, like how individuals communicate with one another and resist the temptation to focus only on technical planning.

I also suggest we can stop researching the link between communication and outcomes and focus on making the desired communication changes.

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