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Causes of Ineffective Communication

Jul 15, 2020

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Much of the communication today in business or health care entails an exchange,
wherein all parties involved must act as both giver and recipient of information.
This exchange ensures that the information is received and the recipient has an
opportunity to express agreement, disagreement, confusion, understanding, need
for clarification or any other response.
For example, a recent study by the Center for Studying Health System Change found
that “reliance on electronic medical records (EMRs) could result in poorer
communications with other providers in inpatient or clinical environments. While
the use of other communication tools with EMRs – such as email and instant
messaging – can sometimes help clinicians, they can also hinder care when a time
lag occurs between responses.”
Communication starts and stops all effective collaborations. Learning how to
effectively communicate is a critical component of our influential leadership
development. Some of the causes of ineffective communication are a mixture of both
organizational and human factors. Time pressures, work stress, a multilayered
corporate structure, language incompatibilities, and information overload are cited
as some of the organization related causes. The human factors are mental,
behavioral and emotional weakness, such as the following:

1. Poor listening skills
2. Lack of focus or mental disorganization
3. Impatience and arrogance

4. Tendency to assume instead of double-check
5. Uncontrolled emotional attachment or response to the information
6. Disinterest in the information or task
7. Refusal to clarify or follow up
8. Fatigue or burnout

People who display these and similar interpersonal inadequacies put themselves,
their communication partners, and those affected by the information in a dangerous
position. They send and receive only partial and possibly incorrect information and
consequently they create time consuming double work, confusion, frustration and
conflict. In this case, communication will not improve if behaviors and mind-set do
not improve. This is particularly true in trying to prevent medical errors as we seek
to improve health care quality and safety.

Ineffective communication is a leading cause of untoward events and harm to patients
whether it is an organizational factor or a human factor of disruptive behavior.

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